How to Stay Healthy for the Zombie Apocalypse
Better Safe Than Infected
Some people train for marathons or triathlons. Even if you’re not ready to get into those, there’s one thing you should always be training for: the zombie apocalypse.
Laugh all you want, but when you see your neighbors slobbering bloody foam at the mouth and pawing at your front window like you’re a porterhouse, you’ll wish you clicked through the following slides about how to avoid becoming food for walkers.Illustration by Alexander Iaccarino
Columbus in the movie Zombieland used a set of rules to keep him alive. Rule number one? Cardio. That’s one of many reasons he was still alive at the end of the movie.
Your heart and lungs are going to get a gnarly workout just from the fear and anxiety that the undead are walking the earth. You’ll need them to be in top shape if you’re going to be regularly running for your life. Even if you think you’re in safe territory, running for 30 minutes a day can help get you ready for the untiring nature of walkers.Illustration by Alexander Iaccarino
Tired, sore muscles can build up lactic acid, a natural byproduct of muscle metabolism. Stretching can help release this buildup for more energy and agility.
Stretching your neck is extremely important because while you’re outrunning walkers, you want to make sure none catch up or hit you from the sides. Stretching twice a day is a good start.
Keep Your Legs Healthy
Do not depend on your car. While good for long distances, eventually we’ll run out of fossil fuels and that car won’t be anything but a zombie food incubator.
High ground is the safest place in a zombie apocalypse. Thankfully, walkers are horrible climbers. Getting there while out-running the undead up stairs or steep hillsides is going to take some serious leg power. Sneak some squats in to make your legs stronger than any walker’s.
Work Out Those Arms
You’ll need your arms not only for climbing trees in an emergency, but also when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. Your “guns” are going to fuel the power behind baseball bats, axes, machetes, and crossbows, so keep them loaded.
Grab whatever weighted item you can and do some free weight exercises, like curls or presses. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with pushups or a few yoga poses.
Use Polyphasic Sleep
It should be no surprise that you won’t be able to get a full eight hours of sleep every night. That’s why you should use the polyphasic sleep method: multiple short periods of sleep throughout the day. This method has been tested in extreme situations and studies have shown that it prevents inevitable sleep deprivation.
The U.S. Air Force recommends naps long enough to get at least 45 minutes of sleep at a time. Two-hour naps are optimal, but hey, it’s the apocalypse. Get in what you can when you can while fighting in World War Z.
Protect Your Eyes and Ears
Your hearing and vision are going to save your life more than once. The sooner you can see or hear walkers coming, the longer you have to live.
Wearing sunglasses while regularly exposed to bright light can protect your vision and keep it sharp. As for your ears, if you know you’re going to be around a lot of gunfire, ear plugs or other ear protection can make a huge difference in the long run.
Protect Your Skin
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. If you’re going to be out and on the move, you should protect it. Since sunscreen will be in short supply, your best bet is to keep your skin covered with multiple layers.
It not only protects from sun exposure, but it minimizes your bite risk when those walking undead scumbags get too close.
This cannot be stressed enough. You’re probably not even drinking enough water now, while the dead remain in the ground. You better change that bad habit before the apocalypse. Water is the body’s most important resource. Your body will run like crap without it.
The trick is to find clean sources of water, such as bottled water or uncontaminated streams. If The Walking Dead taught us anything, it’s that you should always check the well before drinking out of it. You might have an aquatic walker down there.
Stay Up on Your Proteins, but Avoid Canned Meat
You need proteins to keep your muscle moving, but during a zombie outbreak, you’re probably the only available fresh source of protein. As meat typically spoils quickly, hunting is your main option, but even that isn’t easy. Other sources, such as peanut butter, are portable, lightweight, and last longer.
If you come across a stash of canned meat, make sure you have plenty of water available. Processed meats are often laden with sodium, which can dehydrate you.
Take Care of Your Feet
Do not neglect your feet—you’re going to be on them a lot. Something as small as a blister or an infected hangnail can become excruciating, so practice proper foot care. Find a pair of comfortable, sturdy shoes that fit properly. If you can, find a pair of waterproof boots with a steel toe. They’re fashionable and functional as a weapon.
Give your feet time to dry out after wading through rivers or other wet terrain.
Change into dry socks twice a day to prevent fungus and other foot problems, which will slow you down turn you into zombie food.
Get First Aid Training
While you’re going apocalypse warrior, you’re going to get a number of bruises and scratches. While these may seem small compared to the horde of flesh-hungry walkers on your trail, you want to handle them properly. Learning proper wound care and first aid can keep your small problems small so you can actively work on the big one: stopping the spread of the zombie virus and repopulating the earth.
If you’re trying to fix yourself after a bite, you know what you have to do. It’s the right thing.
Be Smart Outdoors
Before Patient Z strikes, you should get outside and explore your natural surroundings. Cities are going to be death traps, so you might want to brush up on your outdoor safety. We suggest checking out these resources:
When the zombies come, we’ll be on the roof. The password is “pineapple.”