We recently asked our PoliceOne fans a series of questions to uncover their fitness routines and find out what is at the root of our biggest health dilemmas and how we can help.
Over 9,000 of our followers took the fitness survey, and the results were eye-opening. For instance, did you know less than half of one percent of officers do yoga? Shocking, right?
Check out the results below plus some of our own expert tips on how to get in shape and stay there!
1. How often on average do you exercise?
We were pleased to discover only about 10% of the 9,000 people polled exercise rarely or not at all. The large majority indicated they exercised at least two to four days per week or more. The amount you should exercise depends, of course, on many factors, like your health and what your goals are, but most health experts agree at least 30 minutes of exercise daily is needed to reduce the risks of chronic adult diseases.
2. How do you prefer to exercise?
This was another answer that made us happy. There are so many ways to get active, but one of the best things you can do is mix up your routine. Weight lifting and cardio only go so far individually, but work best when used together.
Group activities like running clubs and intramural basketball leagues are great for a couple of reasons: You tend you be more active when others around you also participate, and when it’s fun, exercising doesn’t feel like a chore. Ask some of your police colleagues to join the dodgeball team with you!
The best part about doing a combination of physical activities is that it keeps your muscles guessing. Complacency in your workouts can be just as dangerous as it is on patrol.
Less than 23% of the agencies of those surveyed enforce recurring fitness tests. For some, that means little-to-no incentive to stay fit on the job (especially if patrolling a small town with little ‘action.’) But we know that the worst tragedies can happen everywhere, and it’s a cop’s job to be ready for it.
Despite such few enforced fitness tests, more than 70% of those surveyed said that they felt very confident they would pass a fitness test if given one.
5. If you don't feel you are in the shape you should be in, or don't believe you exercise as often as you should, what is at fault?
Cops aren’t alone on this one — ask anyone what the biggest hurdle is when it comes to weight loss and most will tell you: time.
58% of those polled admitted the biggest issue was finding the time to work out between work and spending quality time with family. One simple solution is to make family time active. Go for a walk with the family after dinner, play soccer in the yard with the kids. Even certain video games require you to get up and get moving.
There are online programs like LEO-fit that offer 10 minute fitness plans for officers – plus a support system of fellow officers to root you on as you reach your goals, and countless apps and wearable activity trackers that can ensure you stick with your goals to get the results you want.
There may not be much you can do about sitting in a patrol car most of your day, or the weird hours you’re forced to eat due to your shift, but there is something you can do about the foods you choose to eat. Wake up ten minutes earlier to pack a lunch rather than stopping at the same fast food restaurant every day. And don’t forget about the grocery story! Many grocers have soup and salad bars and hot dishes ready to eat. Reach for the veggies and lean meats over processed foods.
Communicate your goals with your shift partner. It’s hard to stay on track with your own health goals if he or she is still stopping for a fast food burger every shift.
About the author
"The Question" section brings together user-generated articles from our Facebook page based on questions we pose to our followers, as well as some of the best content we find on Quora, a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users who are often experts in their field. The site aggregates questions and answers for a range of topics, including public safety. The questions and answers featured here on P1 are posted directly from Quora, and the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of P1.