October 28, 2014

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Functional Fitness for First Responders

Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections, Fire, Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And Today’s Tip deals with wellness and injury prevention. 

Face it folks, we are prone to injury. So what do we do about it?

Let me ask you a question. On any normal day, would you go out and attempt to run a few miles, lift weights or otherwise engage in some type of strenuous physical activity without first warming up? My money says “No way!”

Now think about this question in terms of a strenuous physical activity often associated with a job in public safety. Maybe a foot pursuit; or a fight with a combative inmate; hauling heavy equipment while hurrying up several flights of stairs when responding to an urgent call for help. We engage in strenuous physical activity without the benefit of a pre-workout warm-up. Worse yet, we’re often doing so under the burden of extra gear and going from sitting to warp speed at the drop of a hat. Face it folks, we are prone to injury. So what do we do about it?

Many of us are physically fit and regularly engage in some type of exercise or physical activity.  But just exercising usually isn’t enough. You have to work the right kind of muscles. Just as athletes tailor their workouts to be sport-specific, we must take the nature of our jobs into account when developing and engaging in an exercise program. Often referred to as ‘true’ or ‘functional fitness’, I’m talking about complete conditioning of the entire body with a focus on core muscles which include the hips, abdomen, pelvis and lower back. These are the areas we are most likely to engage on the job.

Even perfectly fit officers can get injured on the job. However, a fit officer is less likely to be injured than one who is overweight and out of shape. Work on your core.

And that is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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