National Firefighter Health Week: Strength for Life

Friday, 20 August 2010

Friday, August 20: Strength for Life

Practicing good fitness and nutrition are key factors in achieving a healthy heart, body, and mind. These two components of a healthy lifestyle go hand-in-hand, lessening your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as helping you to maintain your strength and energy so you can perform your duties as a first responder. Make the commitment to take care of yourself and practice healthy behaviors for life.

Quick Tips:

  • Incorporate walking into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the far end of the parking lot, go for a walk during lunch, and/or take an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood.
  • Healthy adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Exchange high-calorie processed snacks for fresh fruit or vegetables with a low-fat dip. Mix in fruit with your cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt in the morning and add extra veggies to sandwiches, pizza, and as your side item at a restaurant.
  • Eat before you get too hungry to help prevent overeating. Take your time with your meal enjoy every bite.
  • Avoid going to the grocery store when you are hungry as you are more likely to load up on unnecessary items. Shop mostly from the outside walls of grocery stores to help avoid heavily processed foods. Fill the bottom of your shopping cart with fresh foods and save the small top part for snacks and processed foods. Know what the nutrition label information means. Check the serving size of packaged food to ensure you are eating the correct portion per serving.
Activity Ideas:
  • Adopt the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program in your department and have all your members sign up for the Fired Up for Fitness Challenge. Make it a challenge within your department and help keep each other motivated.
  • Organize a department sporting event, tournament, or even a lunchtime game.
  • Ask a local gym or fitness center if they would be willing to offer department members a discounted rate or donate equipment they no longer need to the station.
  • Show your department that healthy cooking can be easy and delicious by preparing a heart-healthy lunch or dinner for department personnel.
  • Get a registered dietician, a nutrition student from a local college, or a local chef to donate time to help make your station heart-healthy. Ask them to host a session with department members on which foods in the station’s kitchen are not nutritious and what a tasty, healthier substitute might be.
  • Log in to a meal-tracking site, such as the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Menu Planner, MyPyramid, or These sites allow you to enter what you eat and see what your total calories and fat are for the day.
Article Links:
Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program
Fire Department Network News:

Quote of the Day:

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change circumstances, the season, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”

- Jim Rohn



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