By Laura Aiken
This edition’s cover story is on FireFit, a competition circuit featuring firefighter challenges based on tasks of the job. FireFit is such a success that it will be making its debut at Interschutz in 2021 (the event was postponed from June of this year due to COVID-19). For firefighters, being fit is part of the job requirements. What a great occupational checkbox to have! FireFit celebrates, honours and helps motivate this very key aspect of being a firefighter.
The evidence for how multifaceted the health benefits of exercise are has grown to the point where its value can’t be overstated. Getting the heart pumping and muscles strong has a protective effect on us from head-to-toe. Humans are designed to move, there’s no doubt about that. The consequences for failing to do so express themselves in a number of dire and well publicized ways.
Canadian Firefighter magazine features two regular health and fitness columns penned by wonderful sources of expertise. Tools of the Trade by Sean Kingswell and Fit for Duty by Sherry Dean provide concrete advice and ideas for maximizing the benefits of exercise in ways specific to firefighters. In light of our cover story on FireFit, I have rounded up their tips from the last four columns. All of the articles are worthy of a revisit and can be found online in our digital archives.
In last April’s edition of Tools of the Trade, Kingswell wrote about why it was important for firefighters to stick to a long-term fitness plan. He said time, energy and motivation are key factors to adherence, and discussed ways to overcome obstacles with them. In July of 2019, Kingswell highlighted how firefighters need to consider training for specific tasks, and in this case focused on ground work training. In this column you’ll find tips on practicing crawling and crab-walking, and the value of push-ups, bridges, core exercises and strengthening the neck to help firefighters move better on the ground. In October 2019, Kingswell reviewed the biomechanics of climbing stairs, a four-step process that uses many parts of the body. In January, he encouraged firefighters to consider the physicality of the job, akin to that of a professional athlete, except a firefighter’s body needs to be maintained for 30 years or more. It’s pretty important to keep taking care of it!
In the April 2019 issue’s Fit for Duty, Dean discussed how to start a workout program, offering key tips to make it a success you can stick with alongside exercises to help get you started. In July 2109, Dean explored mobility, explaining this as range of motion, which is a bit different than stretching and flexibility but they overlap. She also provided a handy home technique for soft tissue release. In October 2019, Dean focused on finding your motivation, what stops motivation and how to figure out what is stopping yours and get past it. In January, Dean discusses the benefits and potential downfalls of partner and team training. She notes that the benefts are greater than any possible drawbacks and encourages readers to draw from the motivation that working out with others can provide.
I hope this edition’s cover story and recap of tips here inspires you to give it all you’ve got in your next workout session.