Information and Education

Heart Health

by Aaron Warner
Owner, Good News Training
(603) 276-9027

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 " kills more people than any other cause of death". This leads to the question - "what can you do to prevent it"?

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 five-million-two-hundred-fifty-six -thousand 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 Reports"

1. Brown, David. "Picture A World Growing Fat"; The Valley News 4 Feb. 2011.


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