A 6-Month Supervised Employer-Based Minimal Exercise Program for Police Officers Improves Fitness

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Rossomanno, CI, Herrick, JE, Kirk, SM, and Kirk, EP. A 6-month supervised employer-based minimal exercise program for police officers improves fitness. J Strength Cond Res 26(9): 2338–2344, 2012—The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of a 6-month supervised, job-specific moderate exercise program in police officers on body composition, cardiovascular and muscular fitness. Body weight (BW), body mass index (BMI), and cardiovascular and muscular fitness were assessed at baseline, after a 6-month supervised fitness program and at 12-month follow-up (18 months). One hundred sixty-five (n = 131 men and n = 34 women) young (mean ± SEM, 26.4 ± 1.9 years), overweight (BMI = 26.2 ± 1.2 kg·m2) police officers participated. Aerobic exercise progressed from 3 d·wk1, 20 minutes per session at 60% of the heart rate reserve (HRR) to 5 d·wk−1, 30 minutes per session at 75% of HRR at 3 months, and this level was maintained until 6 months. Muscular strength training progressed using 8 different calisthenics exercises from 3 d·wk−1, 2 sets of 5 repetitions using the participant's own BW to 5 d·wk−1, 3 sets of 15 repetitions of the participant's own BW at 3 months, and this level was maintained until 6 months. Cardiovascular and muscular fitness was measured using a 0.25-mile obstacle course incorporating various job-specific exercises and expressed as the physical abilities test (PAT) time. There was a significant reduction in BMI (−0.6 ± 0.2 kg·m2, p < 0.001) and BW (−2.8 ± 2.3 kg) and reduction in PAT time (−11.9 ± 2.1%, p < 0.01) from baseline to 6 months. However, BMI (1.4 ± 1.1 kg·m2, p < 0.001), BW (5.1 ± 3.0 kg, p < 0.01), and PAT time significantly increased (12.8 ± 2.2%, p < 0.01) from 6 to 18 months. There were no sex by time differences. The practical applications of this study indicate that a supervised, job-specific exercise program for police officers improves fitness and body composition after 6 months in both men and women, but continued supervision of exercise program may be necessary for maintenance of health benefits.

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