As a law enforcement officer, you know that staying in shape is an important part of your job. You also know that it’s extremely difficult to find the time to work out consistently.
Let’s face it, fitting in an hour or two of exercise every day is just not very realistic in your hectic, demanding schedule. That’s why you need to focus your work outs on the type of exercise to give you the best results in the shortest amount of time.
And the type I recommend is high intensity exercise – especially hill and stair sprints. These techniques allow you to get the most out of your precious workout time. Helping you build strength, power, speed and stamina while burning maximum amounts of fat – all in much less time than a traditional workout.
There are numerous reasons that high intensity is the way for you to go. Here are the Top 3:
1. Hill Sprints Build the Stamina Necessary For Your Job Demands.
endurance is something that every law enforcement officer needs – but it is a special kind of endurance. If you want to perform at your peak, then long, slow distance types of cardio just won’t work. Your endurance training needs to mimic the demands of your job. Those needs being – short bouts of intense exertion alternated with periods of long periods of lower intensity.
Think about it. How often does your job require you to jog at a low intensity for long periods of time? Or even run at a steady, moderate pace for 20 or 30 minutes in a row? Yet, these are exactly the types of demands that long, slow cardio workouts prepare you for.
On the other hand, high intensity work, like hill sprinting, provides you with interval training that meets your needs. It will take your heart and lungs to intensities far greater than those found in jogging or traditional types of endurance training. Your body will become used to reaching these higher levels, and recovering quickly in between the “sprints.” Not only that, with hill sprints, you will be able to spend much more time training at that high intensity than if you try to “go hard” at a steady state.
This type of training can lead to more protection for your heart and lungs than traditional “cardio”. Long, low intensity cardio can actually shrink the size of your heart and lungs because your body is excellent at adapting to the stresses placed on it. Training long and slow encourages your body to become as efficient as possible to make the exercise easier. The result: it shrinks muscle mass along with your heart and lungs. This has the effect of decreasing your reserve capacity – the ability of your cardio-vascular system to respond to high stress situations (exactly the kind your run into in your job). Without a high reserve capacity, your heart and lungs may be at risk during stressful events. High intensity training can help raise your reserve capacity instead.
Not only that, but more and more scientific studies are showing that VO2 Max (the traditional measure of aerobic endurance) is improved as much – or more- by using high intensity exercise like hill sprinting. This endurance is due to the sprints upgrading your oxygen intake system with new capillaries, developing stronger heart and lung tissue, adding more energy producing mitochondria and increasing your tolerance to lactic acid buildup.
Want the ability to respond to high intensity situations (and recover quickly afterwards)? Then train the same way.
2. Hill Sprints Give You Results In As Little As 15 Minutes.
Sure, this training sounds great – but how much time does it take?
Truth is, you can get these benefits in short workouts of 15 minutes or less – only 2 or 3 days per week.
High intensity work, especially hill and stair sprinting, is an incredibly efficient way to exercise. This stems from the fact that you must do more work in a shorter period of time. In other words, hills and stairs are like the perfect combination of strength training and sprinting – you literally “lift” or “push” yourself up the incline. The steeper the incline, the more demand is placed on your leg muscles. This intensity allows you to get in a superior workout in a very short period of time.
3. Hill Sprinting: The Incredible Stress Buster
The bad news: Your position as a law enforcement officer brings a great deal of stress along with the job. This stress can lead to health-related problems like heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
The good news: One of the best ways to “bust” that stress is with exercise – more specifically high intensity exercise.
Exercise in general relieves stress in a number of ways. First of all, exercise stimulates your brain to release substances (endorphins) that improve your mood. Besides that, exercise can decrease cortisol levels, provide a distraction from the source of stress and boost your self confidence.
Any exercise can have these effects, but high intensity can amplify your results. Recently, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that high intensity exercise is superior in reducing anxiety and stress. The 2003 study even showed that the effects can be felt 30, 60, even 90 minutes after an exercise session.
These are just 3 of the reasons that every law enforcement officer should hill sprint. Take your endurance to a new level and reduce your stress in only a few minutes of exercise per week with this “old school” training. You, your fellow officers and those you serve and protect will be glad you did.