Challenge each of your department members to focus on gaining strength. Besides 2½ hours aerobic activity each week, you should do things to strengthen your muscles at least 2 days a week. These activities should work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms).
To gain health benefits, muscle-strengthening activities need to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition without help. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing a sit-up. Try to do 8-12 repetitions per activity that count as 1 set. Try to do at least 1 set of muscle-strengthening activities, but to gain even more benefits, do 2 or 3 sets. You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days that you do aerobic activity, whatever works best for you.
To motivate your department members, try sending out weekly emails with exercise tips, easy workout ideas, and motivational messages and quotes. Seek out ways to strength train without ever leaving the station (ex. lifting gear). Put up a bulletin board with exercise examples in the station. Find more fitness resources and activity ideas on the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program web site.
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