There is a man who advocates for the "Strenuous Life" that man's face is carved into stone of a touristy, albeit phenomenally patriotic landmark known as Mount Rushmore. That man's name is Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt who held the office of President from 1901 to 1909. Abreast of Teddy are two founding fathers and honest Abe.
Firefighters are no stranger to the strenuous life. But what is the strenuous life? It goes beyond what one is willing to do. It is an adherence to the discipline required to perform, in addition to the will to act. There are many that are willing to be firefighters, but far fewer that are ABLE to be. One may be willing to enter a burning building, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will be useful once they do so.
Firefighters drill, drill, drill and then drill some more. We've discussed the importance of drill in previous blog posts, but it is nonetheless paramount in the functioning of firefighters on the fire ground. Complementary to drill is conditioning of the physical variety. Heart disease is a leading killer of firefighters. Age is kind to no one, and the physical toll of firefighting is particularly unkind as we age. Firefighters are susceptible to not only acute injuries on the job, but repetitive stress injuries as well. Rucking north of 60 pounds of gear up many flights of stairs is rough on the joints. Likewise, manipulating heavy hose-lines, tools and life hazards through chaotic and clearly unergonomic environments is detrimental to the long term health of firefighters.
How then, do we prevent these from ruining our retirement years? Sure, many brothers and sisters in the fire service can retire after 20 or so years, but how do they ensure a continued ability to live and enjoy the strenuous life in their golden years? Discipline. An adherence to working smarter instead of harder. There should be no aversion to hard-work, rather a cognizance that harder is not necessarily better.
Additionally, many departments have found it beneficial to support physical fitness endeavors for their members. The five components of physical fitness include:
- Cardiovascular Endurance
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
- Body Composition
Departments address these by developing internal sports teams. Members play other departments in their mutual aid districts or intramurally; big city departments may play against their brothers and sisters in blue. To make sure you don't pass the ball to the blue team on accident, maybe you should consider outfitting your fire department team in custom team uniforms.
Fire Department Clothing has jerseys that can be custom made for your department for the following sports:
Departments often build on-site gyms or purchase memberships at local gyms for their firefighters. Your firefighters can show their department pride at the gym with firefighter shirts, firefighter sweatshirts and firefighter shorts.
Flexibility is an important component of fitness, and of particular importance in regards to remaining uninjured on the job. When doing flexibility routines, don't be encumbered by your clothing. Choose comfortable clothing such as pants or shorts. Show off your department with firefighter shorts and sweatpants custom made for your department.
Above all, embracing the strenuous life means to know your limits both on and off the fire ground. Fire Department Clothing is here to help you show your pride! Make sure you do everything in your power to remain mobile well into old age and continue showing your pride in your department!