There are some days when I feel like I’m in the middle of a dystopian young adult novel. The news seems to be on all the time with people putting restrictions on us, everywhere is closed, the streets are quiet, and with the recent rainy weather, things just seem…dreary.
Though I must admit, I think being in a teen dystopian novel might be a bit better than being in The Walking Dead. Maybe.
Although, on the flip side of that, perhaps we were more prepared for hordes of the undead than we were for a shortage of toilet paper and the closure of many places of business. After all, there’s been enough programming in recent years to teach us the basics of survival in a zombie apocalypse, and not many programs that teach us how to survive a global pandemic.
From my many hours of studying the zombie apocalypse, mostly through movies and literature, I have noticed a bit of a pattern throughout these tales of survival – skills that the survivors possess in order to make it to the end. Today, we’re gonna dive into those and figure out how to survive waves of the undead. Who knows? Maybe some of these skills could help us fight off another kind of plague.
1. Survival skills
Many of us are familiar with Good ol’ Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs. If you’re not, here’s a crash course; imagine a triangle that features every need you could possibly have, all the way from food and water to self-actualization and finding a purpose. You have to have your base needs – food, water, shelter, rest – before you can move on to your next needs, which feature things like shelter and safety, then relationships and belonging, and so on. Look it up if you’ve never seen it before.
In many of these tales of Zombie survival, little of the focus is on finding these needs. Finding food might be a recurring issue, but the main problem that fills the storylines of every “28 Days After World War Walking Dead” movie is the undead, themselves.
So far, we’ve yet to encounter any walkers, so this step is likely the main one we will stop at. Even still, it’s good to be ready for anything, right? Let’s take a look at some of the skills particularly used in the Zombie Apocalypse.
Being able to get away from assailants is a big help when you’re being chased by cannibalistic animated corpses. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of ways to train for something like this before it happens.
Well, there is one way. Zombies, Run! is an app available on iPhone and Android that allows users to be motivated on their daily walk, bike ride, jog, or run with the sounds of zombies closing in on you. Sounds fun, right? In addition to the noises of the apocalypse coming through your headphones, you will also be able to listen along to the story of Abel Township, a small village of survivors that will guide you on your trek with a fun story. Think of something along the lines of a radio program like Little Orphan Annie or Adventures in Odyssey and you get the idea.
One cool part about Zombies, Run! in comparison to listening to audiobooks or other audible entertainment is that it makes you part of the story; you are Runner 5 for Abel, and you get daily missions like collecting supplies or saving the lone survivor spotted several miles away. The characters talk to you, not just to each other, though they often comment about how quiet you are as you can’t talk back!
These features are usable for outdoor walks around your neighborhood using your phone’s GPS. Additionally, the app contains optional “chases” that you can enable which encourage you to speed up or risk losing a limb to a zombie. This feature can be disabled if you want a casual walk, as well.
The app also recently added a feature for guided at-home workouts in case of inclement weather, lack of treadmill, or just a desire to do something other than walk/run/bike. Did I mention the app is FREE? You can pay for a monthly or yearly membership to unlock more features, but the basic storyline and chase features are available at no cost. With all of these features, you can be sure that you will be prepared to run from the undead.
Running and walking are phenomenal for your health. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week of moderate exercise, and running or walking is a great way to get that in. Going outside and breathing in the fresh air is great for your immune system, and the vitamin D from the sun is something our bodies are craving after being inside for so long.
Often, if you can’t outrun them, you simply have to beat them. Being confident in your ability to punch a zombie head off can mean the difference between getting bit and making it another day. Being able to hold your own isn’t a bad skill to have on a normal day, either.
For increasing stamina while learning to attack, I recommend taking a look at kickboxing. An average kickboxer can burn around 700 calories (or more!) per hour. Your intensity level is adaptable based on your ability, and you can work yourself up if needed. Kickboxing combines punches, jabs, uppercuts, hooks, front-, back-, and side-kicks, ducking, and constant bouncing on your toes for an all-over exercise that can get your muscles in gear for whatever comes next.
In addition to kickboxing courses available for free on Youtube, there are dozens of “Zombie Apocalypse Survival” workouts available, as well. Aaron Whaley, the director of the Morton Fitness Center, recommended this channel to me, where I found an incredible video with an apocalypse-themed workout. Check it out!
I hope you all enjoyed this fun look at fitness. I’m in no way a fitness professional, so please be cautious when starting a new workout program, and do what feels good to your body – never push yourself to pain! On the other hand, I am a zombie movie professional, and I know what works there, so take my word for it! 🙂
I leave you with a fun playlist I use when I work out. The songs are fast-paced and can encourage me to workout like my life depends on it!