If the Discovery Channel’s “Naked & Afraid” reality show has taught us one thing, it is how important it is to be prepared for emergency survival situations.
Contestant Melissa Miller from Michigan has endured grueling conditions and overcome the ultimate tests for survival and her advice is simple: “You can be prepared all you want, but if you do not know how to truly utilize the tools you have then they become pointless,” according to The Prepping Guide.
As a harsh reality TV show, “Naked & Afraid” — which challenges contestants to survive naked in the wilderness for 21 days — can actually provide some valuable tips for survival preparedness.
1. Develop mental toughness— Miller made it clear in her interview with The Prepping Guide that mental toughness was an essential key to her surviving the rough conditions during her time on “Naked & Afraid.” She explained that “from the beginning of each challenge, I told myself there was no way in hell I was going to tap out or quit.” Survival situations are going to test a person's mental and emotional strength, so it helps to develop both to handle tough conditions.
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2. Maintain fitness for survival— It is one thing to stay fit in the gym, but functional fitness to mimic emergency situations is a whole other ball game. Miller emphasized the importance of fitness for survival because “when you have a strong body and more muscle mass, you are able to last longer after your fat reserves are depleted.”
Writing for The Prepared blog, Dr. Andrea Chymiy likened functional fitness to farm work.
“Think about the stereotype of a strong farm boy. They’re not cut like a bodybuilder or lean like a marathon runner, but they’re generally more survival fit than both,” she said. “Their fitness comes from functional work, the daily movements of working on a farm.”
3. Shelter— In the face of an emergency survival situation, shelter becomes the first and most important thing, according to “Naked and Afraid XL” participants Jake Nodar and Steven Lee Hall Jr. “Shelter, water, and fire. That’s what you've got to look for,” Lee told GQ.
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4. Water— Finding a water source is essential for survival. Based upon his experience, Lee told GQ that the easiest way was to find water in an old riverbed. Nodar noted that the water is not always clean, so they needed to make a plan. “We would get a pot of it and let it boil for quite a long time, just to play it safe,” he said.
5. Fire— In addition to being used to purify water through boiling, fire will also help in your overall survivability, noted Dr. Wesley Adams, who teaches a class on survival and appeared on “Naked & Afraid,” according to American Grit. He explained that a fire should keep predators at bay and would obviously keep you warm in cold conditions.
6. Prep your feet for harsh conditions— It may seem like a strange bit of advice but it helps to be prepared for all extremes. “Naked & Afraid” contenders make sure they have conditioned their feet to endure rough environments. “I walked around barefoot for months,” noted participant Dani Julien, according to The Wrap. Fellow contestant Justin Bullard said being barefoot was one of the worst parts of the challenge. “We all tried walking around barefoot, hiking barefoot, to get our feet prepared,” he said.
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