How to survive an alien invasion. And other more likely threats to your health.

The film Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to the 1996 film, opened in theaters last week. The movie is about an alien attack that threatens to destroy the earth. The film has all the makings of a summer blockbuster and will certainly have people talking about alien invaders. It may even prompt some to prepare for an alien attack. This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

Alien invasion

All evidence suggests that an alien invasion is highly unlikely. Just in case, though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response has provided advice for surviving a host of disasters that are common in Hollywood blockbusters, including an alien attack. The intention is that preparing for epic disasters also means that you will be prepared for more realistic natural and man-made catastrophes.

I would like to share some health and fitness-related steps you can take to help you survive an alien invasion as well as other more likely threats to your health. After all, you are far more likely to suffer a heart attack than an alien attack, but it makes sense to prepare for both.

The first thing that is clear is that you need to be physically fit to escape or fight alien invaders. Roads and other transportation infrastructure tends to get destroyed in an extraterrestrial strike, so you may have to travel on foot and carry a heavy load of supplies, likely over long distances.

Building speed and endurance through prolonged aerobic exercise and high-intensity interval training can give you an advantage. Developing muscular strength through resistance training would certainly help, too. A comprehensive fitness program at a gym or at home can help you achieve these goals. Even going for a brisk walk everyday will help.

What you eat now can also help you prepare for the aftermath of an alien assault. Both running away from alien attackers and walking for days to a safer place requires that you have adequate stores of carbohydrate and fat. A high carbohydrate diet will increase your storage of muscle and liver glycogen, the primary fuels used for intense exercise so you will have more energy available to sprint and run.

Don’t overeat, though. Maintaining a healthy body weight is beneficial, too. The heavier you are, the more weight you have to carry in your escape, which is likely to slow you down.

Even though the possibility of an extraterrestrial apocalypse is remote, preparing now makes sense. Just as the CDC recommends that you be prepared for aliens in an effort to make sure you are ready for other more likely disaster scenarios, getting in shape to fight or flee attacking aliens also increases your chances of surviving more probable health threats.

Regular aerobic and strength exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, and eating a healthy diet are the best ways by which you can reduce your risk of a host of health problems. The benefits of these healthy habits include a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers along with prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. These are exactly the type of risks you should be preparing for.

So, as you watch Independence Day: Resurgence think about what you can be doing now to prepare for both an alien invasion and more realistic threats to your health. Visit the CDC website to learn how to prepare for Hollywood-sized disaster scenarios as well as credible information about exercise, nutrition, and health. Then, get started on getting yourself in shape—the aliens will probably attack without warning!

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