Just in time for Halloween comes some useful tips for surviving one of the most dreaded scenarios in our life...no I’m not talking about the 2012 presidential election, it starts with a Z so it must be zombies. Now you may think you are prepared for the hordes of the living dead that surely will one day appear, but I may just have some useful information that may determine if you are one of the lucky few to start a new civilization with the other survivors, or if you become one of the undead that crave human flesh.( I know this is disturbing to many readers especially to the vegetarians out there...but hey this is tough love so listen up.).

Many movies in the past have tried to deal with guidelines or rules to follow in case zombies attack. I will try to list some of the common mistakes that people make and reinforce the things that will help you survive. First the most common mistakes.

1) Never keep someone around after they have been bitten. I know its hard to say goodbye to that coworker in the next cubicle, but once they are bitten it’s game over. Instead of eating your leftovers in the breakroom they’ll most likely just make you their 10 minute lunch. There is no cure, they won’t get better, they don’t remember you and the pharmaceutical companies will not have a cure any time soon. Look on the bright side, now you can "borrow" whatever you want from their desk and they won’t even care.

2) Travel light and take only the things that you need. Now is not the time to pick out family heirlooms that have sentimental value and are "priceless". Let’s see...grandmas quilt or water and extra ammo. Hmmm.

3) Not shooting a zombie in the head. If I’ve learned anything over the years of watching zombie movies this is numero uno.

4) This goes hand in hand with number 3. When you put down the undead DO NOT walk up for a closer look. Even if it is someone you may have went to highschool with and haven’t seen in years you should just walk away. Zombies have a tendency to be stubborn about staying dead...hence the cute nickname The Walking Dead.

5) "Shh..listen do you smell that?" This is a ghostbuster phrase but the lesson to take away from that is DO NOT go upstairs/downstairs/inside/outside/in the barn/behind the barn etc. to investigate a noise you think you hear. Chances are you did hear a noise and chances are it’s a walker. If you want to send someone to check it out send your annoying coworker who survived or the weakest link in your group/team and when they don’t return you’ll have your answer. (Win win in my book). I know this sounds harsh but this whole apocalypse thing is no time for a team building exercise, so don’t be worried about unit cohesiveness or group morale.

These are by no means the only mistakes that people make when dealing with zombies but they are the ones I could think of off the top of my head. Now I will try and give a few zombie survival tips that you may not have thought of.

1) Be proactive. The time to worry about general overall health and conditioning is not when you are being chased by Larry from accounting, but months earlier when you were watching DWTS while eating a bag of potato chips. I know I know, you were planning on starting that diet tomorrow and maybe start walking when the weather gets nicer. The truth is the best time to start an exercise program was 6-8 weeks ago. That is how long it takes to see substantial results from exercising and eating right. Shoot for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week. This will decrease your risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis and being eaten by a neighbor or coworker. Strength training should be performed a minimum of 30 minutes on 3 non consecutive days. Stick with a weight you can perform for 8-12 repetitions and be sure to target all of the large muscle groups. A popular routine for someone new to strength training is known as the push/pull program. Basically a MWF schedule doing a) chest/shoulder/triceps b) back/biceps and c) legs. Throw in some core 2-3 times a week and you have a well rounded workout routine. Strength will come in handy if it comes to hand to hand combat with a zombie.

2) Hydration. I tell my patients for the average person in average conditions take your weight, divide by two and that’s how many of ounces of fluids you should aim for daily. More in times of stress or outdoor activity. A little more couldn’t hurt. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Not good when Becky at the front desk is in the mood for some human sushi.

3) Be prepared. If you visit www.redcross.org you will find preparation plans and safety training for different types of emergencies. Now as strange as it may sound I could not find any literature regarding a zombie apocalypse in the FAQ section, I searched from A to Z and nothing. I put a call in to them but so far no response....they must be busy.

4) Nourishment. Your diet should consist of 3-5 small meals a day consisting of slow metabolizing carbohydrates (think oatmeal not poptarts), lean protein( eggs, fish, nuts, lean cuts of meat) and healthy fats. Everybody has a different daily caloric need depending on your age, height, weight, and activity levels both at work and recreational. The best way to get an idea of how much you should be eating would be to use a online calculator such as http://nutritiondata.self.com/tools/calories-burned .

5) Stay flexible. Daily stretching has many benefits including increased range of motion in the joints, enhanced muscular coordination, increased circulation to various parts of the body and an overall increase in energy levels. All of these come in handy when you have to go from a dead sleep to full sprint as Mike your mailman is breaking down your door looking for a midnight snack.

Well that’s about all I could come up with at the moment. Maybe next Halloween I’ll talk about the different types of zombies (" Shaun of the Dead"- slow and stupid or "28 Days Later"-super fast with attitude.). Have a safe and fun Halloween.

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