Wellness Tips for First Responders
Stress can kill. While that may sound dramatic, first responders must endure an inordinate amount of stress in their line of work and should learn to take care of themselves. Whether it’s physical or mental, both types of stress can take their toll on first responders’ bodies and minds.
Statistically, heart attacks are the number one cause of firefighter fatalities while in the line of duty. Additionally, studies also show higher rates of cardiovascular disease among law enforcement officers than in the general population. If you make some simple changes to your lifestyle now, you could save your own life in the future, as well as those of others.
Some healthy decisions you as a first responder can make include:
- Eat a healthy diet. While this may sound like a no-brainer, it is so crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While everyone’s needs and preferences are somewhat different, finding a good balance that works for you is the most important. Cut out the processed food and fast food and focus on more natural options like fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Do your research online or talk with a nutritionist or dietician to come up with a plan that works for you.
- Maintain an active lifestyle and exercise on a regular basis. Once again, nothing new here. Just get up off the couch and get active. It can be a pick-up game of basketball with your co-workers or joining a local gym — whatever works for you and keeps you active is what you should do.
- Put down the cigarettes. Cigarettes are bad for you. Period. Your cardiovascular health should prevail over this nasty habit.
- Get your annual physical. Go to your yearly check-up and make sure all systems are “go.” Get ahead of problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. These conditions are reversible but can be life-threatening if not treated. So, do some preventive maintenance on yourself.
In the end, your health is your responsibility. So, take it seriously and look out for your wellbeing. The emotional stresses may be harder to handle sometimes, but if your body is healthy, you will feel better equipped to deal with the stressful situations that come your way.
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