First responders are some of the bravest and most selfless individuals in our society. They put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve our communities. But the demands of their jobs can take a toll on their mental and physical health. That's why it's important for first responders to learn to take care of themselves, and one of the best ways to do that is by getting in better shape.
Enter, Ted Stern of Fit Responder.
As an 11 year Texas police veteran, he noticed a growing problem, obesity and an increase in mental health issues.
Physical fitness is a crucial component of overall health, and it's especially important for first responders. They need to be in good physical shape to perform their jobs effectively and safely. This means having the strength, endurance, and agility to handle the physical demands of their work, whether that's chasing down suspects, carrying heavy equipment, or rescuing people from burning buildings.
So why do they rank as one of the highest in overall obesity and have a high rate of suicide?
Even though It’s well known that exercise has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It has also been proven to improve mood and cognitive function. Day in an day out, a First responders job often exposes them to traumatic events and high-stress situations. According to Stern, slowly over time, they work out less and less, relying more and more on Adrenaline and egos to get them by.
First responders play a critical role in ensuring the safety and security of our communities. They put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve the public, and as a result, they face unique physical and mental health challenges.
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of supporting first responders in maintaining their physical and mental health. In this blog post, we will explore some strategies, taught to us by Ted, for helping first responders get in better shape for mental and physical health.
First responders need to be in good physical shape to be able to carry out their duties effectively. This means maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise. Here are some tips to help first responders get in better physical shape:
Encourage regular exercise: First responders should be encouraged to engage in regular exercise to maintain their physical fitness. This can include activities such as running, cycling, swimming, weightlifting, and yoga.
Provide access to fitness facilities: Many first responders work long hours and irregular schedules, which can make it difficult for them to find time to exercise. Providing access to fitness facilities, such as gyms or workout rooms, can help them fit exercise into their busy schedules.
Promote healthy eating: A healthy diet is essential for maintaining good physical health. Encourage first responders to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, not just quick fast food.
Offer mental health services: Access to mental health services is critical for first responders. Offer counseling, therapy, and other mental health services to help them cope with the stress of their job. There are some great peer supported services such as THE NEXT RUNG and Guardian Revivals Boots to Paws program.
Provide education about mental health: Educating first responders about the signs and symptoms of mental health issues can help them recognize when they may be struggling. Offer training on mental health awareness and provide resources for seeking help.
Encourage self-care: First responders need to take care of themselves to be able to take care of others. Encourage them to practice self-care activities such as meditation (passive and active), yoga, or hobbies that they enjoy.
Promote work-life balance: Finding a balance between work and personal life is essential for maintaining a healthy mind and attitude.
Stern points out that the level of dedication you have to your fitness speaks to your dedication in bringing you and your partners home safely. “We need to help those that put their lives on the line for us every day” states Stern, “by helping these men and woman become stronger mentally and physically is a way of paying it forward and showing that asking for help is a form of strength and not a weakness.