Changes in health and physical fitness parameters after six months of group exercise training in firefighters
Proper training methods may be used as an effective preventative measure for many of the musculoskeletal injuries sustained as a first responder that are inherent to the profession. The traditionally low fitness levels and poor exercise habits of city firefighters may predispose this population to an increased risk of chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular and metabolic disease. The purpose of this study was to analyze changes in the health and fitness parameters of professional firefighters across North Texas during a six-month training program. Twenty-two professional firefighters completed six months of group training, consisting of two training sessions per week. These individuals underwent a pre- and post-fitness testing protocol that consisted of body composition, range of motion, anaerobic power, muscular endurance, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Improvements (p < 0.05) in flexibility, anaerobic performance, fatigue index, muscular endurance, and aerobic fitness were found following the six-month training program. No differences in body composition or peak power were observed (p > 0.05). Six months of group exercise improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness, exercise tolerance, muscular endurance, and flexibility in firefighters.