The 10 Minute Workout

One of our biggest excuses for lack of exercise is simple, it’s lack of time. Most of our time is spent working, sleeping, family obligations and friends. Very rarely do people say they have or make time for exercise, which in our profession is very unfortunate since as we’ve said in numerous posts thus far, we are “functional athletes” and need to behave, think and train like one; mentality and physically. 

In order to enjoy our life, our family, friends, combat the stress of the job and continue to feel healthy for the long haul, exercise is essential to this and what I am sharing with you all today is the 10 min work out you can do at home, in the gym, on the go and even in the firehouse alone or with your crew.

Why am I saying all of this?
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it is recommended to have at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic pace exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Depending on how hard you work out that will equate to 21 minutes per day of moderate aerobic pace exercise or 11 minutes per day of vigorous exercise.

So here are a few options of the 10 minute workout:

1.    Jogging: This is great for cardiovascular health, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol and is known to decrease the risk of osteoporosis. The American Council on Exercise states that an individual weighing 180lbs can burn up to 170 calories by taking a 10min jog.
2.    High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): This is my personal favorite and although it burns calories and fat quickly, it is not recommended for beginners. HIIT is a form of interval training and cardiovascular exercise training alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. This type of workout will challenge your cardiovascular system more than jogging along with added benefits such as increasing your metabolism, improves cholesterol profile and increases insulin sensitivity. A bodyweight HIIT Workout would look something like this: 50 sit-ups, 40 jump squats (or body squats), 30 pushups, 20 split jumps, 10 triceps dips, as many burpees as possible in 30 seconds. You will take a 30 second rest between each exercise in order to perform each exercise with 100% effort. 
3.    Circuit Training: This a great strength training workout due to strength training .Generally strength training requires rest periods between sets for muscle recovery however with circuit training uses antagonistic muscles (when one muscle contracts, the other relaxes, i.e. biceps and triceps) allowing for shorter rest periods An example of this would be as follows: 3 sets of 10 reps.
a.    Pushups
b.    Hollow body hold
c.    Squats
d.    Glute bridges
e.    Bench dips
f.    Plank hold (30-60 sec holds)
4.    Jump Rope: Jumping rope can burn more than 10 calories in a minute and a great way for overall body toning. Here is a quick jump rope workout you can do anywhere. 60 seconds regular jump, 60 seconds rope side to side, 60 seconds single leg (left), 60 seconds single leg (right). The goal is to do this routine non-stop for 2 rounds. If you are new to this, do regular jumps for 60 seconds for 4 rounds with 30 second rests. For the single leg jumps, start with the weaker or less dominant side first. 

So, there you have it. Four different workouts we can do any time, any where for overall health. Incorporate these into your daily life will have you feeling healthier, stronger and battle ready to perform when the alarm goes off.  

Please note: Always consult with your physician before getting into physical activities while recovering from any injury or surgery. It may not be the best treatment option after an injury or surgery or may be limited to particular modalities.

Until next time: work hard, stay safe & live inspired.

About the Author

NICHOLAS J. HIGGINS is a firefighter with 16 years in the fire service in Piscataway, NJ as well as NJ State certified level 2 fire instructor and currently a State of New Jersey Advocate for the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation. He has also been elected as a township elected District Fire Commissioner for 1 term (3 years) in Piscataway, NJ from 2008-2011. A blue belt in taekwondo and former collegiate athlete, Nick is currently studying to complete his certification as a TRX Instructor and a Battle Ropes Instructor. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Kean University and is the founder/contributor of the Firehouse Tribune website.


Silent Night

Throughout the last few years, the fire service has made tremendous strides in breaking down the barriers to emotional wellness. We are better than we were yesterday, but not quite where we need to be, but we are constantly making progress. And as we head into the Christmas holiday, we need to take a moment to do that ever-important, self-inventory of ourselves and our surroundings.

The holiday blues are a very real phenomenon and iscompounded by various factors such as stressful end-of-the-year factors, family dysfunction, loss and loss reminders, poor eating and drinking habits, and dark winter days. And that’s before you throw in the very unique stressors that is today’s fire service such as staff shortages resulting in mandatory overtime, missing those critical moments with the family as you work on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, holiday travel plans pushed to next year due to vacation being denied due to said shortages, and the ever-constant exposure to traumatic stress that is the job.

Then you have those that celebrate the holidays alone, adding another layer of complexity to this time of the year. The U.S. Census Bureau found that between 2007 and 2012, Millennials accounted for 24% of the total population, but made up over 43% of all movers. Look around your own department and ask yourself how many members are there without any family in the area? Departments used to be made up of people that grew up in that area or surrounding areas, but now departments are made up from people from all over the state, surrounding states, and across the country. And the holidays can be a lonely time and add even more stress to people in this category. We are a mobile society, often leaving our family and friends behind in search of “what’s next”.

There are few things we can do to reduce this stress. Set goals and realistic expectations for the holidays, take a break as we often try to do too much around the holidays, stop comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides as we all have our struggles regardless of what the appearances are, and take time to take care of yourself. And during this holiday season, take a few moments to check on each other. We don’t always know the load people are carrying with them, and that load gets heavier this time of the year. Have a station or company Christmas dinner or party, have a station gift exchange, or invite those without family in the area over for some Christmas Eve fellowship or Christmas Day dinner. Or just reach out just to say hi, you never know when that random phone call is the one who saves someone’s life. Most importantly, take care of yourself and one another.

 About the Author 

SIDNEY LUCAS began his fire service career as a volunteer with the Belle and Cedar Grove Volunteer Fire Departments (WV) in 1999 and currently serves as a Lieutenant with the Newport News Fire Department (VA) and is assigned as the Department Safety Officer. He has been with the department for over 11 years where he has served in various capacities. He is a former Chief of Quinton Volunteer Fire and EMS (VA) and a veteran of the United States Navy, serving onboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) as part of the Crash and Salvage Team supporting the Global War on Terrorism. Sidney is a graduate of the Virginia Fire Officer’s Academy and currently serves on staff.