Given that firefighters, police officers and any
other emergency worker requires courage and
heroism should be without dispute. The rigors
and dangers of such work are not for the weak or
faint of heart. However, being human means being
subject to the reality of the world, which
includes such things as accidents, injuries. For
someone who is single, it is one thing. Throw in
a family person and you now have a recipe for
disaster around every corner.
However, in order to serve and save there is a
demand to be at your best. If a emergency
service worker is trained to be at their best it
can literally be the difference between life and
death to either the responder or the victim, or
both. By the grace of God it may only mean an
injury, but it could be one that stops your
career right in its tracks.
Not all fatalities are in the line of duty. A
recent survey of fatalities amongst firefighters
shows a rise in death by cardiac arrest, This
aligns with a recent nationwide and global study
reiterating cardiovascular disease "...now kills
more people than any other cause of death". This
leads to the question - "what can you do to
Not all of us like math and for those who do
there is always the English portion of the
answer, so I will start there. The first thing
to understand is heart dis-ease. That is, one's
heart is not functioning as easily as it could.
Any combination of poor diet, poor stress relief
and poor heredity can lead one into this
condition. However, guided cardiovascular
training can help you out of it.
Now for the math - a healthy Resting Pulse (RP)
is 70 beats per minute (bpm) or lower. Fit to
super fit RPs go from 60 down into the 30s (mine
is 44 in case you wondered). What are the
implications of this number? If we take 70 beats
per minute multiply by 60 minutes per hour, 24
hours per day and 365 days per year
(70x60x24x365) we get 36,792,000 beats per year.
If we follow a structured cardio plan, within a
few months we can lower our RP to 65 bpm. What
is the difference? Only 2,628,000 beats! Drop it
to a very achievable 60 bpm and you have knocked
off 5,256,000 or
times your heart didn't have to contract to pump
blood into your vascular system. Sounds like its
"easier" to be your heart at that point doesn't
it? Add that up over five years time and you've
saved your heart 26,280,000 work units. Starting
to get the picture? The number one killer of
humans in our country has kryptonite it can't
beat - it's called regular cardio training.
As a cardiovascular fitness specialist I work
with all kinds, including police, firefighters,
EMTs, doctors, nurses, etc. The key is testing
to figure out are you stage 1, stage 2 or stage
3 cardio, then determining your training regimen
based on your heart rate.
1. National Institute for Occupational Safety
and Health "Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation
1. Brown, David. "Picture A World Growing Fat";
The Valley News 4 Feb. 2011.