Five tips to staying fit as a law enforcement officer

Let’s face it, staying fit as a law enforcement officer is an important part of the job.  A healthy, fit body gives you more energy and reduces stress.  Plus, it lessens your risk of serious illness and leads to fewer sick days, which means your boss and coworkers will be happier with you than if you’re constantly calling in sick.  And let’s face it, if you’re overweight and out of shape, you’re not going to have the strength and stamina to chase or subdue a criminal suspect, which is an important part of police work. 

Here are five tips to staying fit as a law enforcement officer:

Maintain a healthy diet.  In order to be healthy and vital you need to get right amount of vitamins, fiber and minerals. A steady diet of junk food erodes health and well-being over time, plus it puts on the pounds, which hampers your ability to do your job well.  Avoid foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.  Staying fit as a police officer means you strive for balance in your diet, including lots of whole grains, non-fatty proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables.  Moderation is the key when indulging in sweets, as well as fatty and salty foods like chips and French fries.  Lay off the donuts and potato chips, except on special occasions. If staying fit as a law enforcement officer means you need to lose more than just a couple of pounds, consult your doctor for a good weight loss program and stick to it until you reach your target weight.  As you age, it gets harder and harder to take off the pounds, so don’t procrastinate.

Stop smoking.  If you’re a smoker, you’ll never achieve optimum fitness and health.  In fact, smoking is the number one culprit when it comes to robbing health and vitality and causing serious, life-threatening illnesses like emphysema, heart disease and lung cancer. If you’re serious about staying fit as a law enforcement officer, you’ve got to say adios to the smokes.  Get professional help to quit.  There are many good smoking cessation programs to support you while you kick the nicotine addiction.

Assess your fitness level and set a firm goal for staying fit as a law enforcement officer.  How far have you come from when you last took the police fitness test?  Can you do bench presses, sit-ups and run a mile and a half? Or are you flabby and out of breath just walking up a flight of stairs? Measuring your fitness level helps you set a benchmark so you can keep track of your progress once you get started working out.  Measuring success and meeting your fitness goals gives you a feeling of accomplishment and motivates you to keep working out.

Design your fitness program.  Whether getting and staying fit as a law enforcement officer means you run five miles a day, work out at the gym daily, play racquetball on the weekends or a combination of all of these things, it’s important to establish a routine that’s easy to follow. If you’re out of shape, start out slowly and add on as you begin to build up strength and stamina. If you’re using workout equipment, get instruction from a trainer to make sure you’re using it properly to avoid injury.

Keep at it. Staying fit as a law enforcement officer is a marathon, not a sprint.  A regular fitness routine should last over time and be varied enough to keep you from getting bored and giving up.  Mix it up by adding new activities to your exercise routine.  Bicycling, hiking, tennis and swimming – even ballroom dancing – are all great ways to stay active and fit!

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