Physical fitness is essential for survival, but there's more to it than spending all day pumping iron to build muscle. You also need proper nutrition to keep your body running strong, and you need to stay flexible to avoid muscle and joint pain.

Weighted ruck push-ups

Working out builds strength, but stretching and maintaining good posture can help you avoid injury. Photo: Kevin Estela

Those who have experienced a bad sprain or extreme muscle cramping know exactly how debilitating these injuries can be during everyday activities — just imagine how much worse they'd be when you're carrying a heavy bug-out bag and trying to escape a dangerous situation.

knee-to-chest-stretch

Stretching can relieve muscle pain and stiffness, but it can't repair damage that has already been done.

Back pain affects 50 to 80 percent of American adults, and severe cases can make it all but impossible to even stand up. Obviously, this isn't the sort of injury you want during an emergency, so you should take steps to alleviate it during your daily routine. Back injuries often build up over weeks, months, and years, so taking a few small steps in the right direction now can save you decades of anguish down the road.

Ambulance hospital medical trauma first responder accident

You can't afford to be sidelined by back pain during a disaster, so take steps now to prevent it.

Maintaining good posture is one way to avoid back pain, since it prevents strain on your muscles, joints, and circulatory system. The following infographic from Greatist shows the physical effects of bad posture, its causes, and the dos and don'ts of posture in various body positions. Click here to download a full-size version of this graphic.

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Prepare Now:

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