By Barbara H. Peterson

Amid all the talk about preparations for the coming economic collapse, one subject is glaringly absent from the discussions. Exercise. Think about it. You can have all of the food in the world, gold, a survival retreat that is off the grid, guns, ammo, livestock, and a beautiful garden, but if you are not in shape to take care of it all, you might just as well have nothing at all.

It takes muscles to get up in the morning and start the day off with milking the goats, feeding the critters, tending the garden, then settling in for a nice homemade breakfast. And the chores don’t stop there. Critters need tending – hooves trimmed, eggs collected, waterers cleaned, and coats brushed. Not to mention the fact that you will need to be in shape to ride your horse down the road a few miles to visit the neighbors. And don’t think that you will get in shape as you go. That is the hard road. Make it easy on yourself and start now, with a bit of exercise preparation.

I am a firm believer in keeping one’s body in shape. Exercise not only keeps you limber, but slows the aging process as well. It doesn’t take a lot to get started, and even some exercise is better than none, but to get the most out of your sweat, you need to do it regularly.

Back in the early 70s, I was a member of the Roland Dupree Dance Academy in Hollywood, CA. Although this does not make me an expert in the field of exercise, the experience does give me some insight into the process of building up one’s body in a safe, effective manner. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.

First, it is very important to remember that you will not start off where you want to be. Don’t force it. Slow is the key word for beginning anything. Pulled muscles are not pleasant, and can put a real crimp in your program. Therefore, when stretching, always do it slowly. DO NOT bounce. For example, while reaching for your toes, start with your head. Bend it forward, then round your shoulders and upper torso towards your stomach, then keep on rounding your body downwards until you can go no further, then reach towards the ground with your arms. You will feel a stretch, and need to recognize the difference between “good” pain and “bad” pain. Good pain is when you can feel your muscles stretching out, and there is resistance, but after holding your stretch for a bit, the muscles start to relax and warm up. Bad pain is when you reach the point of “yikes, that hurts!” or you feel something start burning and the pain intensifies. Prevention is the best remedy for this. Therefore – GO SLOWLY! You don’t have to touch your toes on the first try, or even the second, third, or fourth. In fact, you may never reach your toes, but the benefit is in the trying.

The single most important thing to do, even if you do nothing else, is to work on your core. Your core consists of your abs, back and pelvis. According to Ask the Trainer, “the core can be simplified to the muscles which stabilize your mid section.”


The core supports your upper and lower body, as well as your spine, and the success of any exercise routine will ultimately depend on the strength of your core muscle group.

If you are like me, you spend a lot of time in front of the computer. So, let’s get started with a simple core exercise that you can do sitting at your desk, in front of the computer. Remember, the person in the video has been doing this for a long time, so if you can only do 5 repetitions, then don’t feel bad, and don’t try to strain to do more. This will only bring discouragement and pain. Work your way up slowly.

What are you waiting for, computer warriors? Let’s start getting in shape for the future. Once you develop an exercise routine, even if it is only for a few minutes per day, you will start reaping the benefits, and eventually you will be in shape to take care of that survival getaway, and have fun doing it.

(C) 2010 Barbara H. Peterson