Training Fire Fighters to Live Longer













Bud Thompson returned from training at the Cooper Aerobic Clinic in Dallas with a troubling question: Why are men who work as firefighters likely to die 10 years earlier than the average man?

Brown, a University Professor of exercise science with 35 years of experience in fitness testing and exercise prescription, learned that the stress firefighters face is unlike the everyday stress of most working people.

“On top of the incredible physical demands, firefighters know that an alarm may sound at any moment, requiring them to perform at maximum capacity to save lives,” he said.

All firefighters, experienced and rookies, showed elevated cortisol levels after the physically challenging stair-climbing test. For this test they wore 60 pounds of gear and a bulky, fire-retardant suit and, as typically competitive individuals, pushed themselves to continue climbing almost to the point of collapse. After the test, cortisol levels were high for all firefighters, experienced and rookie.

“But, results were different in the firehouse after an actual run. In this case, the cortisol levels soared higher for rookies than for experienced firefighters. Brown believes the difference is an indication of emotional stress. While all face the same physical stress while fighting the fire, experienced firefighters seem to have a better idea of what to expect when the alarm sounds and the trucks roll.”

Excerpts from a University of Arkansas study on firefighter stressors. Read the whole article HERE

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