Becoming fit for firefighting takes hard work. But it doesn’t need to take all your time. I’m going to tell you the quickest way to improve your aerobic capacity so you can perform better and reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack on duty.
In order to improve your aerobic fitness, you must do exercise that meets a minimum intensity. It has to increase your heart rate and your breathing well above rest (that means that low intensity activities like golf, while really good for your health, doesn’t make you more fit.)
So how do you get to that minimum intensity?
Ultimately you can get there in a hundred thousand different ways from mountain biking to basketball to bailing hay. The real key is not what you’re doing but rather how hard what you’re doing is.
So, regardless of what you’re doing, you can improve your aerobic fitness by doing something that is somewhat hard for a long period of time or something that’s really hard for a short period of time. Obviously the latter will take you less time.
The main point is that the higher the intensity of the exercise, the greater the rate of improvement in your fitness. That’s why high intensity interval training has become popular. It gives you just as great of a benefit in your aerobic fitness, if not more, than your traditional boring long run (sorry runners).
A high intensity interval training workout includes very difficult short intervals mixed with active rest intervals. For example, you might do burpees or fast jumping jacks for 1 minute followed by walking or walking lunges for another minute, repeat. Be creative and come up with your own intervals.
The total duration of the workout can be as short as 10 minutes! So no more excuses. With practically no equipment and very little time, you can become fit for firefighting and live a longer life.