Police and firefighters have a new reason to hit the gym: It saves their lives. New research shows that the number-one killer of firefighters isn’t heat or smoke, but stress and exertion.
In fact, more than 50 firefighters a year pass away from job-related overexertion. Researchers at California’s Humboldt State University’s Human Performance Lab are currently creating a program of weightlifting, high-intensity interval training, agility drills, endurance training, and flexibility work aimed at first responders.
The scientists at Humboldt hope their work gets adopted by many of the government agencies, including FBI, firefighters, and some law enforcement, that do not require annual fitness tests for their officers. They believe that improved strength and conditioning will give these heroes a better chance of going home to their families after their shift is over.