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Physical Fitness in the Field, Not Just For Looks

This month, I want to focus on a topic that we can often let slip by the wayside: physical fitness. We all have busy schedules and relationships with family/friends that rightfully take up much of our time off duty. Prioritizing time for our family and friends is crucial to our success in such a stressful and sometimes unpredictable line of work. It is important to remember that it isn’t just the quantity of time with our loved ones but the quality that makes a difference. Finding success in this industry requires a healthy balance of mental and physical health. It is vital we recognize that our mental health can affect our physical health, and the same is true in reverse order. When we get sufficient physical exercise, the body releases endorphins and dopamine that can lead to more meaningful sleep. In our chosen field, I don’t think any of us would complain about getting better sleep. 

Cardiovascular health is crucial to our overall well-being. Strengthening the cardiovascular muscle surrounding our heart leads to an increased amount of blood being pumped with each stroke, resulting in a lower resting heart rate. This is important because we all have stressors in our lives. Finances, relationships, family turmoil, the list goes on and on. When we increase cardiovascular strength, this puts us at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. While we can’t ignore the mental aspect of our health and the toll it can take over a prolonged period of time, the same is true for our level of physical fitness. If we fail to prepare…. we are preparing to fail.

We live in a society that is not getting any safer. Our chosen field requires grit and a skillset that is uncommon. It takes a different psychological/physical makeup to be a functional and effective security professional. I want to focus on that word, professional. That is what we are. In any profession, it takes a constant eagerness and dedication to improvement to master your craft. If we want to make a long and productive career in security, our physical fitness has to be a priority. It is vital that we are on top of our game in terms of physical health and mental awareness. In short, we want to stay sharp! Physically and mentally. Being mentally aware of your surroundings and giving attention to detail can identify a threat before it strikes. Not only is mental awareness crucial, but what are we going to do when the threat presents itself? We have identified a potential threat by means of our mental awareness, but now comes the needed physical response. Our bodies have to be ready to respond, given a moment’s notice. You don’t want to be in a fight for your life and think, “Am I in good enough shape.” “Can I stay in the fight long enough for backup to arrive?” As I stated earlier, if we fail to prepare, we are preparing to fail. The first step in developing a warrior’s mindset is being confident that you have a warrior’s skillset.

It is never too late to be better than you were yesterday. Getting back in the gym or on the treadmill after being off for a while can be intimidating.  I want you to think of two words, “one day.” How you choose to say these two words can either keep you in a rut or get you back on track to confidence. Instead of thinking, “one day,” say to yourself day one.Keep up the great work, and be a more physically/mentally confident officer. Remember that you are security professionals.