Take 20 minutes

Every crimefighter knows that they need to be physically fit, not only for their optimal survival on the street but for their emotional survival as well. However, many cops don’t feel they have an hour or more to spare in the gym, in a martial arts program, or out pounding the pavement completing a 10K run, so they don’t bother to do anything at all. If you’re having a hard time starting or resuming a physical fitness program, just remember this: “Twenty Minutes.”

Almost every one of us can find twenty minutes to engage in some form of moderate physical activity. Whether it’s a two mile run, a brisk neighborhood walk with the dog, 20 minutes on the elliptical, or having your eight year old teach you how to dribble a soccer ball, twenty minutes is better than doing nothing. The benefits, it turns out, are not just physical, but emotional as well.

According to the West Australian Centre for Health and Aging just 20 minutes of exercise a day can help prevent memory deterioration. The University College London study found that any form of exercise can improve your emotional health. Their study also found that while just 20 minutes of physical activity a week improved a person’s mental state, the more activity a person undertook, the lower their chances of experiencing psychological distress.

The weather is starting to get nicer, take the kids, put a child seat on your bike, get a running stroller for the baby, challenge your fifteen year old to a race, take a walk with your spouse every night after dinner. Make it as much about your emotional well being as it is about your physical fitness.

Commit to just 20 minutes of any physical activity five days a week (with your doctor’s approval of course) for the next two weeks, and then monitor how you feel. That 20 minutes will soon turn into 30 and then more, and before you know it, you’ll start to look forward to exercising and you’ll be healthier, happier, and more fit to fight crime.

About the author

Sergeant Betsy Smith has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, retiring as a patrol supervisor in a large Chicago suburb. A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command and a Street Survival seminar instructor for more than 9 years, Betsy is now a speaker, author and a primary PoliceOne Academy consultant. Visit Betsy's website at www.femaleforces.com.

Contact Betsy Smith and Follow Betsy on Twitter

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