There’s nothing better to get your heart rate up by doing some aerobic activities. No, I’m not talking about aerobics if that’s what you were worried about.
As you’re about to see, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your long-term ability to make physical effort… so let’s not waste anymore time and take them one by one.
I consider swimming to be the holy grail of aerobics. I myself didn’t know how to swim until after I was 30 but I tried and I tried until one day I was able to… and now I’m getting pretty good at it!
The benefits of swimming are undeniable. The list could be a lot longer but here are just the main ones:
- it builds endurance
- builds strength
- improves cardiovascular fitness
- tones muscle
- keeps weight under control
- contributes to the health of your heart and lungs
- it burns a huge number of calories
Best of all, it doesn’t put any stress on your knees and ankles like running does. That’s why swimming is recommended for ALL ages, even if you have a bad back or chronic problems with your legs.
The only “problem” with swimming is that, unless you happen to have a swimming pool in your back yard, you’re going have to pay for access to one. But it’s well worth the money, considering the amazing benefits.
Of course, you don’t even have to buy a full membership. Swimming only once or twice a week, in conjunction with the rest of the exercises in this course, is more than enough.
Another fantastic option, jogging was discussed in another episode of the series. Careful not to hurt your knees, you’ll need proper running shoes, and try to only jog on surfaces that are specifically made for this purpose, such as running tracks and treadmills.
Studies have emerged showing that cycling is actually better than running because it prevents injury. It makes sense because when you jog, with each step you take, you’re putting pressure on your ankles, knees and even your spine.
Of course, you need strong joints and tendons so you need to jog as well, but cycling has the huge advantage of allowing your body to exercise for longer periods of time. In fact, if you’re just starting out and enjoy biking, you can even skip running altogether (for now) and start pedaling.
Is cycling always better than running? Not always. For example, if you’re looking to burn as many calories as possible, running is better because you’re using your entire body to move. When cycling, let’s not forget that you’re in a seated position.
Some more tips for you to get the most out of cycling:
Try different routes. Variety is key as with any “workout” so why not take advantage of the fact that you can travel long distances to see some of your surroundings? This is an excellent opportunity for you to familiarize yourself with all the different bug-out routes you can take.
Measure your distances and break your records. Challenge yourself to always bike more than the list time, even if only by a mile.
Wear a helmet. Over 6000 American cyclists end up in the hospital with head injuries every year.
What if I told you that you don’t even need to buy jump rope? You can just use Paracord to do rope skipping. However, if you have no problem spending 10-15 bucks on a professional one, you can find plenty on Amazon.
Either way, the rope needs to be of the proper length before you use it, otherwise you won’t last that long. To find out, step in it with both your feet and raise your arms towards your armpits as much as you can. The length can be anywhere between your waist and your armpits.
Believe it or not, there’s a large number of skipping rope variations you can do.
Here’s how to do rope skipping. Simply step on it with both your feet (like you did previously) and start jumping WITHOUT MOVING YOUR ARMS OR YOUR ROPE (for now). Do this until you’re comfortable with the movement; only then should you start rotating the rope.
The basic exercise is when you do small and fast jumps (1-2 inches off the floor) with both your feet while you rotate the skipping rope from front to back. You only need to jump high enough to give the rope enough room to slip under you. The trick to making this work is to keep your elbows close to you as you do the exercise.
If things are going well, you can increase the speed a little bit. Don’t worry if the rope gets stuck, continue doing it until it almost becomes a reflex.
Now, before we move on to the variations of skipping, let’s talk about the most common rope skipping mistakes as clearing those out will pave the way for your doing every other variation like a pro.
Mistake #1: not starting correctly
What a lot of people do is they bring both their hands back, they throw the rope forward and themselves at the same time. That will never work. To start skipping rope, you need to keep your elbows tucked in like I showed you, and start jumping 1-2 inches off the ground while moving the rope back to front in a rotating motion.
Mistake #2: jumping the wrong way
Man, I rolled on the floor laughing a few weeks ago when a friend tried rope skipping for the first time. He was so funny I just had to make fun of him the whole night. He was putting so much energy to make sure the rope goes through that he started making these really awkward movements.
Keep in mind that the rope is about a quarter of an inch thick, and only needs 1-2 inches of space to pass through.
Mistake #3: turning the rope and jumping at the same time
It’s in our reflex to turn the rope from back to front and jump at the same time, but that will only result in the rope simply reaching your legs while they are on the ground.
So you need to do this in two steps that are something like a third of a second away from each-other:
Step 1: You move the rope forward like I told you.
Step 2: You jump 1-2 inches off the ground.
Ready for some rope skipping variations? They’re not as hard as you think. Well, we’re gonna heave the hard ones for people who are more passionate about this as we have our own purpose in mind.
Variation #1: As you’re jumping, move both your feet from side to side (about 6-7 inches from the original position).
Variation #2: Jump only on one foot by slightly raising the other one 4-5 inches away, then switch. Do 3 on the left, then switch feet and do 3 on the right.
Variation #3: Move both your forward and back as you jump.
Variation #4: Move your feet apart and then together as you jump. Somewhat similar to variation #1 only this time the feet go in the opposite direction.
Are there more variations? Of course, but these 4are enough for now. If you can incorporate these into your routine, that’ll be more than enough.
The burpee is an aerobic/strength training exercise that doesn’t require any equipment, and it can be done in very little space.
The movement is complex and, as a result, a lot of people are doing it wrong. Here’s the right way to do it:
Step 1: Stand up straight with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Squat down and put your palms on the floor in front of you.
Step 3: Resting on your palms, jump back with your feet until you land in the squatting position.
Step 4: Perform a push-up (optional).
Step 5: Bring your feet back where they were at step 2.
Step 6: Raise yourself up and, optionally, jump in the air.
This is a really easy aerobic exercise that can be done in a very tight space. The movement is compound, meaning a lot of your muscles will get a good workout.
Step 1. Stand up straight with your feet wider than shoulder width apart, and raise both your hands at chest level with your elbows bent, with one palm on top of the other.
Step 2. Twist your arms left and right while keeping your body straight.
This is a really easy exercise taken straight from military playbooks, where they call it side-straddle stop.
All you have to do is stand straight, then jump until your feet are apart and your hands are above your head (some people like to clap when they do that).
A variation of this are power jumping jacks. You have to stand with your feet together, with your knees slightly bent and your back at a 60 degree angle from the floor. Keep your arms on the sides and make sure they touch your knees.
Then, in a swift motion, jump into the air while raising your arms high up, almost touching each-other over your head. Return to the original position as you descend.
The benefits of rock climbing are amazing: you get a full body workout (particularly your core muscles), and it helps with stabilization and flexibility.
First of all, you should start doing this indoors where you are safe. What you really want to do in the beginning is focus on your grip and getting over your fear of heights. Go to an indoor climbing gym and make sure you bring someone or that there’s someone there who can help you.
Second, keep in mind you don’t just need strong arms to climb. As in the case of tree climbing, you also have to use your legs to push yourself up. In other words, if you’re looking to become a better climber, you need to work your feet just as much as your upper body (if not more).
Once you mastered indoor rock climbing, consider doing it outdoors. This is where things start getting more interesting. For example, did you know you can do bouldering, which is outdoor close to the ground climbing without any equipment. There’s even a World Cup for it!
The nice thing about bouldering is that you don’t really need to invest in equipment but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What’s important now is that you start your first rock climbing experience as soon as possible.
I want to talk with you about martial arts for a minute. Now, I’m no karate expert, I’m only a prepper but I want to share my perspective to help you decide.
Obviously, every style has its benefits but some are better than the other from our purpose. If you set your eyes on one, you should probably go with that but if you haven’t, I suggest you look intro Krav Maga because, unlike the others. The other martial arts have all sorts of techniques but this one is focused on punching and kicking, which feels more natural.
The other benefit is that the moves are explosive, which is something you need as part of your survival fitness training, anyway. It helps form reflexes too, useful when you’re taken by surprise by an attacker or a critical event. The only issue is that these explosive movements could cause tendon injuries.
Other martial arts to learn? Chinese kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Okinawan Karate, judo or plain old boxing are good places to start.
In addition to the aerobic movements above, a lot of the things you do around your house or yard are also aerobic:
- mowing the lawn
- mopping and sweeping
- scrubbing floors or the bathtub
- chopping wood
- washing the car
- shoveling snow etc.
All in all, aerobic exercises will increase your stamina and your ability to stay alert when surviving disasters and emergencies. They key to getting maximum benefit from them is to make them a HABIT.