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Challenge Idea: Kick Up Your Cardio

This month, challenge your department members to increase their lung capacity and get their heart rate up through aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise conditions the heart and lungs by increasing the oxygen available to the body and by helping the heart to use oxygen more efficiently. Aerobic activity or "cardio" includes everything from running, to mowing the lawn, to dancing – as long as you're doing them at a moderate or vigorous intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least two and a half hours moderate-intensity or one hour and fifteen minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity every week (in addition to strength training). Click here  for more information on aerobic activities.

To start the challenge, give each of your department members a copy of the Kick Up Your Cardio Worksheet.

Challenge Rules:

  1. For the first week, record how much aerobic exercise you are currently getting. Record your time on the Worksheet.
  2. Each week, try to increase your time from the week before by at least 20 percent. So, if you jogged and mowed the lawn for a total of 5 hours last week, try to do about six hours the next week.
  3. You have completed the challenge if your total aerobic exercise increases each week of the month.

To motive your department members, try sending out weekly emails with motivational messages and quotes, sign up for a 5k or other team race event, and coordinate group jogs or walks around the station. Make sure that everyone is tracking their time with the Fired Up For Fitness Challenge so they can receive prizes for their hard work. Find more fitness ideas on the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program web site.

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