Zombie Survival – Rule #1 – Cardio & Fitness
The most important tool in your arsenal to survive a zombie apocalypse is a healthy, fit body. You can have the biggest gun, most accurate bow, or sharpest sword, however they will only get so far if your body is sickly. In a a non-zombie world there are many paths towards health and many definitions of fitness. However when dealing with zombies the only real criteria that matters is are you fit enough to survive (or possibly even thrive). Rule #1 in The 32 Rules of Zombieland
“You don’t need to be able to out run every zombie, just the guys next to you”
You need to be able to run, jump, crawl, lift, swim and move. Plus you need to be able to do all these things for an extended period of time. Plain endurance doesn’t take you far enough by itself. Zombies have unlimited endurance. Mobility is your best escape plan and that involves developing the previous list of skills.
Without getting too detailed there are three general energy pathways in the body. Phosphagen (short-term, high intensity), glycolytic ( mid-range energy), and Oxidative Phosphorylation (long-term energy). The first two do not require oxygen to work (anaerobic) and the last one is aerobic (with oxygen). Marathon runners tend to specialize in the use of the oxidative system, while sprinters would gain more benefit from developing the phosphagen and glycolytic pathways. However learning to build and develop all three is the best possible option. It removes specialization but allows for a greater variety of physical attributes.
Best Fitness for the Zombie Apacolypse
Interval training is a great way to impact all three energy pathways. Manipulating time, distance, intensity, or recovery allows you to target and develop any specific combination of pathways. Keeping a workout between 3-5 minutes with about the same time for recovery between sets targets the oxidative pathway. Workouts shorter than 30 seconds with about four times the recovery between sets trains the phosphagen and glycolytic pathways. Examples are running hard for 30 seconds then walking for 2 minutes and repeating until you cover a predetermined distance. Or 5 rounds of 3 minutes of jumping rope followed by a 2-3 minute cool down between each set. The possible mutations of this setup is endless.
Strength is another key component of fitness. You will need to be physically strong to survive a zombie apocalypse. Moving through the wild or scavenging will present obstacles that need brawn to be overcome. For general overall strength that will translate well the three exercises with the largest impact on the body are deadlifts, back squats, and shoulder press. Deadlifts and shoulder presses are the two most functional movements of the human body (lifting something off the ground and placing something over head). Back squats have the quality of improving overall strength. In a pre-zombie apocalypse world getting these exercises in can be easily done at any gym or at home with free weights. In a zombie world you can substitute almost any heavy, holdable object to use for the shoulder press. Or a heavier object to use for the deadlift. Without a barbell the back squat can be more difficult but not impossible to find. Search the internet for examples of soldiers jerry-rigging entire weight rooms out of stones and pipes.
There are other exercises that can definitely be beneficial to a person in a dangerous setting but these are the three I would keep with me on a deserted island.
Build up to Zombie Ready Fitness
So now you know how to develop your cardio and your strength. Now you need to make sure you keep your joints mobile and healthy. For that there’s always stretching. But better than stretching is something called joint mobilization. It involves taking the joints through their designed range of motion. If there is an impingement or reduction ROM in an area, you work that joint until it can move as desired. Stretching tends to focus on connective tissue more than the joints themselves.
The internet is a wealth of information covering training regimes, fitness plans, and self-care techniques. Make sure to take the time now to start developing yourself.