You sit too much. We all do. The dangers of sedentary modern life include an assortment of health problems and musculoskeletal imbalances. The average Westerner sits for 13 hours a day, sleeps for 8, and moves for 3. Do you feel like you don’t have enough time in your busy schedule to find time for exercise or movement? Being busy is an excuse. We all know the feeling of getting our fresh sneakers on and heading out to the bay to “clang and bang,” just to have the tones go off and crush our spirits and momentum. Exercising before work ensures a workout without interruption; however, if sleep is sacred to you and you don’t want to get up early to work out before shift, there is a solution.
Upon returning to your home or place of work, perform max reps of an essential movement (push ups, pull-ups, planks, squats).
Return reps are a great way to increase general, everyday movement without much thought or time to execute. If the fire department that I work for takes 10 runs tomorrow, and I perform 15 pull-ups each time we return to the station, I will have knocked out 150 reps. That’s a lot of volume in no time at all! On top of that, doing return reps upon returning from training and from the store adds another 30 reps. That’s a hell of a workout for most people. Performing them outside in the sunshine provides an added bonus. Return reps can be anything from squats to sit-ups to dips, but I advise you choose movements that involve large muscle groups to achieve maximum benefits. I do return reps up until 8 pm. Exercising any later than this can disrupt the little sleep that we do get. As a result of these small changes, I can improve my body composition, my mood will be better throughout the day owed to the feel-good hormones released from exercise, and my stress levels will diminish.
“Every day of our lives, we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference.”
— Mignon McLaughlin
My co-workers and I tend to make a competition out of it and hold each other accountable to get our reps in whenever we return to quarters. This is just one convenient way to increase your daily movement and fellowship with your crew, despite the unpredictability of the job. Take accountability for your health and make a concerted effort to move more and sit less. Sitting is for pooping, eating, and drinking coffee. If you’re able-bodied, get up and move. Your body will thank you for it.