*Updated April 2018
Whether you’re a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic, life as a first responder can be stressful and challenging. As a result of dangerous or hectic duties and long hours, many first responders are left with little time to care for themselves.
Does this sound familiar? If so, it’s important to start focusing on yourself a little more.
Tips for staying healthy and fit
It’s an admirable thing, to focus on the needs of others and care for strangers in challenging situations. However, there comes a point in time when you also need to think about yourself.
Try implementing any or all of the tips below into your daily routine to experience better overall health and improved fitness.
- Get enough sleep. First responders often suffer from any number of sleep problems because of drastic irregularities in their schedules. If you believe you suffer from a sleeping disorder or condition, it’s critical that you see a doctor and get the situation under control. While it may be difficult, you should shoot for seven to eight hours of sleep per night. This allows your body to recover and keeps you mentally prepared.
- Drink plenty of water. Your body thrives on hydration and needs adequate water intake to function properly. According to the Mayo Clinic, that means roughly 13 cups per day for men, and 9 cups a day for women. If you’re coming in under these marks, you’re probably not as energized or healthy as you could be.
- Maintain a balanced diet.A healthy, balanced diet is key to staying healthy and in shape. For optimal results, eliminate as many processed foods as possible and focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You also want some lean protein in your diet, but too much can be a problem. Your muscles crave carbohydrates, and the more you can take in, the better prepared you’ll be for physically demanding situations.
- Stop smoking. If you’re a smoker, you have to quit. Period. You understand the risks associated with smoking, and your cardiovascular health can’t handle this horrible habit. Smoking is one of the worst things you can subject your body to, and you won’t be able to perform well unless you curb this addiction.
- Decrease alcohol intake.While you don’t necessarily have to give up alcohol altogether, you probably should decrease your intake. Avoid drinking alcohol right before bedtime, because this can disrupt your sleep cycles. If you enjoy alcoholic beverages, try to limit yourself to drinking only on off days … and doing so in moderation.
- Exercise on a regular basis.While you probably get plenty of hands-on action on the job, you also need to set aside regular time each day for a targeted fitness regimen. Focus on both strength and cardio training with high-intensity workouts. Plan major workouts for your off days while making sure to include short fitness routines in your work schedule.
- Discover ways to relieve stress.There’s no way around it: being a first responder is stressful. There will be days when it seems like it’s too much to handle. And while there’s no way to eliminate stress completely, you should work actively to reduce its effects on your life. Investigate constructive and safe ways to release stress, and learn to separate your duties from your personal life when possible.
- Regular health screenings. Finally, it’s important to get regular health screenings a couple of times per year to ensure your body is functioning properly. High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” and should be monitored on a regular basis.
Insurance for first responders
At California Casualty, we offer premiere auto insurance for first responders. Whether you’re a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic, we take pride in offering reliable and convenient policies that fit your lifestyle and provide valuable peace of mind.