Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fitness to Respond

If you're a first responder you are an athlete, and your physical condition should reflect it. Emergency operations have unique physical demands. It is imperative first responders, professional and volunteer, maintain adequate physical fitness to perform during operations.

Your fitness program should emphasizes the importance of injury prevention, strength, power, speed, endurance, and agility. It should help you become as well rounded as possible to respond when the unpredictable happens. Benefits of an effective program can include increased cardiovascular health - including lowered resting heart rate, increased ability to deal with stress - ability to maintain focus, and decreased chance of physical injury just to name a few.

With the goal being operational fitness look for or design a physical conditioning program that incorporates the following:

  • Train for Operational Fitness - Analyze the demands of operational related activities before building or selecting a program.
  • Three Days per Week - Good start point for beginners, allows for rest days between each training day.
  • Four Days per Week - For more experienced individuals, divide training between upper and lower body.
  • Manage Stress - Stresses in social life, relationships, and injuries can interfere with training, pay attention to things like sleeping and eating right and relationship issues.
  • Train Specifically - Gains reflect how you train, to be strong during operations train for strength.
  • Progress Systematically - Progressively increase the difficulty of your training at predetermined points.
  • Overload Accordingly - Make gains by pushing your body beyond what it's accustomed to.
  • Manage Diminishing Gains - Over time returns on your effort will diminish, change your program accordingly.
  • Manage Reversible Gains - Hard gains will be lost during off time, your restart-up level may be lower than where you left off.
  • Be Individual - Everyone is built differently, maximize your potential by tailoring the program to you.

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