January 20, 2015

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A Sedentary Profession

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And Today’s Tip deals with police work being a sedentary profession.

Although we may view the job as a high-activity profession, it generally involves long periods of little activity with bursts of energy. 

Would you consider police work as an ‘active’ profession? Running after and physically struggling with bad guys? What words would you associate with the job? Action? Excitement? Running, walking, moving? But how about sedentary; a word used to characterize very little movement or expenditure of energy.

According to a 2014 research project outlined in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine entitled, “Physical Activity in Police Beyond Self-Report”, we should become familiar with this term. Failing to do so could have deadly consequences. This study is “the first time physical activity in police had been directly measured, rather than relying on surveys”. 

According to the study, police work is primarily sedentary and that officers typically burn only as many calories as it takes for someone sitting while holding a baby or washing dishes. Although we may view the job as a high-activity profession, it generally involves long periods of little activity with bursts of energy. 

Not moving is a bad thing. It is associated with all sorts of health risks including cardiovascular disease. Obesity falls into the risk category as well, along with a bunch of other conditions that accompany it such as high-blood pressure and diabetes. When we go from being sedentary to active in an instant, such as during a sudden assault, we put added stress on our bodies that can result heart attacks. Cops die every year in the line-of-duty from cardiac arrest. Combine the sedentary nature of our jobs with other risk factors- excessive drinking, smoking, stress, poor eating habits and a lack of exercise- you get a recipe for disaster. In essence, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

OK, the job is sedentary. What can we do about it? This is just one more reason to develop good off-duty exercise habits. Even on-duty, you can walk instead of driving short distances; take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get out from behind that desk or the wheel for a few minutes every hour to stretch and move. Don’t be sedentary, if even if the job is.

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

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