Tag Archives: tactical fitness

Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death Part 2: Cardiovascular Disease

This is the second of three articles in the “Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death” series from TACFIT Fire Fighter:

 

Cardiovascular Disease

Smith, Liebig, Steward, and Fehling (2010) describe cardiovascular disease as “a pathological condition that affects the heart, blood vessels, or the clotting potential of blood”.  Although cardiovascular disease is a chronic condition that progresses over the course of many years, it may transition into an acute life-threatening event in which death occurs quickly.  The physiological strain of firefighting coupled with underlying cardiovascular disease may be the lethal combination causing a sudden cardiac event in firefighters.  In order to prevent a sudden cardiac event, we must understand the physiological effects of firefightingand the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (Smith, Liebig, Steward, & Fehling, 2010).

 

Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

The American Heart Association (2011) lists the following risk factors for cardiovascular disease:

Risk Factors Beyond Our Control

Age — A large percentage of people who die from coronary artery disease are over age 65.  The risk for firefighters increases over age 45.  In 2009, 34 of the 47 fire fighters to die from heart attack or stroke were between the ages of 35 and 60 (USFA, 2009).

Gender — Men are more likely to die as a result of heart disease than women.

Family History — Individuals may be predisposed to cardiovascular disease based on family history.

Major Risk Factors We Can Control

Tobacco Smoke — The Surgeon General identifies smoking as the leading preventable cause of disease and deaths in the United States.  Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases tolerance to exercise and increases the risk of blood clots.

High Blood Cholesterol — Excess cholesterol in the blood can build up in the walls of arteries leading to heart disease.

High Blood Pressure — High blood pressure increases the workload of the heart, causing cardiac muscle to thicken and become stiffer.

Sedentary Lifestyle — Lack of physical activity can have a negative impact on heart health directly and it can also lead to other risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and diabetes.

Obesity — Obese individuals are likely to develop heart disease even in the absence of other risk factors.  Lack of exercise and poor nutrition are both lifestyle choices that lead to obesity.

Diabetes — Significant risk factor causing damage to blood vessels (AHA, 2011).

It is estimated that firefighters have a 300% increased risk for cardiac disease compared to other segments of the population.  Dr. H. Robert Superko conducted a FEMA sponsored study of firefighters in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  The study was prompted by the sudden death of a 53 year-old firefighter who suffered a cardiac arrest while fighting a house fire.  Superko (2011) found that the stress and psychological pressures related to the job, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and inherent personality traits, combined with a genetic predisposition to heart disease may have a tremendous impact on the risk of sudden cardiac death in firefighters (Superko, 2011).

 

Risk Factor Assessment

How many of the risk factors above apply to you or someone on your crew? We each need to take responsibility for our health.  The decision to make lifestyle changes is a personal one. You have to make that choice for yourself.  Understanding your risk for cardiovascular disease is a vital part of improving your health and reducing your risk of sudden cardiac death.

 

Next week we will discuss some other strategies to prevent sudden cardiac death in firefighters and we will issue our TACFIT Fire Fighter Call To Action.

 

References:

American Heart Association. (2011, May 13).  Risk factors and coronary heart disease. Retrieved fromhttp://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4726

 

Heart Scan Services. (2011, May 16).  Landmark FEMA study:  Heart disease is an epidemic for firefighters.  Retrieved from http://heartscanservices.com/police.php

 

Smith, D., Liebig, J., Steward, N., Fehling, P. (2010)  Sudden Cardiac Events in the Fire Service:  Understanding the Cause and Mitigating the Risk.  Skidmore College.

 

United States Fire Administration (USFA). (2009).  Firefighter fatalities in the United States in 2009. Emitsburg, MD.

Clubbell Training for Firefighters

Clubbells are the Ultimate Fitness Tool

Strength, power, endurance, mobility, and injury prevention are just a few of the benefits awarded from Circular Strength Training with Clubbells.



 

The Clubbell can be found in all of our TACFIT programs due to it’s superior training effect.  Unlike any other training apparatus, the Clubbell’s design and use accelerates strength and athletic development.  The Clubbell also offers a more comprehensive training platform due to it’s Circular Strength Training ability as opposed to Linear Strength Training.  Not only does the Clubbell offer incredible, full body development but it is also the Number 1 Choice to use for a health first approach.

 

Clubbell Equipment

 

The simple design of the Clubbell offers a displaced center of mass which significantly increases the challenge of controlling and deploying with proper technique.  The more challenging, the more development for you.  The Clubbell does not offer the luxury of being balanced in the user’s hand, such as a dumbell or barbell.  The result is not only significant gains in grip and core strength, but an incredible full body workout.


CLUBBELLS


The simple act of swinging a Clubbell creates tension on the body as opposed to the compressive forces found with conventional weight training.  Tension decompresses your joint capsules, strengthens muscle and connective tissue, improves elasticity and breaks down adhesions which hinder mobility.  Conventional weight training offers the reverse effect;  applying compressive forces, damaging joints, creating soft tissue trauma, focused development on fascia without proper attention/training for connective tissue.  As you can see, the Clubbell offers the most important benefit of all, a health first training tool.  The Clubbell has been referred to as the Fountain of Youth after training has alleviated pain, restored mobility, and increased strength and endurance.

 

Not only is the Clubbell important for firefighters, but anyone who wants to accelerate strength and athletic development with a health first approach.  Firefighters need to possess the ability to move through all ranges of motion with expressible strength to perform their job safely and efficiently.  Firefighters also need to take care of themselves and maximize career longevity and prevent injury.  A firefighter’s training program should also be functional and enhance their skill set as firefighters, not detract from them.  The Clubbell’s design and versatility make it a “must have” piece of training equipment for the firefighter.

 

The Clubbell is not only fun and challenging but it also provides all of the benefits required not only for an occupational athlete such as a firefighter, but anyone who is interested in being stronger and moving better.  Please enjoy the video  where you can view samples of Clubbell exercises and be sure to visit THE ORIGINAL CLUBBELL to learn more.

Firefighter Combat Challenge: Training Exercise #3 – The Medicine Ball Slam

Many fire departments utilize a firefighter combat course to simulate fire ground tasks.  It may be used for entry level testing, annual fit for duty, or fire service competition.  The best way to train for a firefighter combat course is to run the actual course.  This is not always practical or convenient.  In the coming weeks we will provide tactical training exercises that you can perform at your fire station or local gym.

 

The “On Target Firefighter Combat Challenge” is comprised of 5 stations:

 

1.  Stair Climb/Hose Carry

2.  Equipment Hoist

3.  Chopping/Breaching

4.  Charged Hose Drag

5.  Victim Rescue

 

This week:

Combat Challenge Event:  Chopping/Breaching

  • Warm-Up Exercise:  Shoulder Roll – Forward/Backward
  • Training Exercise:  The Medicine Ball Slam
  • Cool-Down Exercise:  Clasped Hand Shoulder Bridge
Check out this instructional video:
**Note:  If you do not have a medicine ball, you can simulate this exercise with an “Exercise Band Pull” anchored to a high point such as a pull up bar.


 

Firefighter Combat Challenge: Training Exercise #2 – The Kettlebell Plank Row

Many fire departments utilize a firefighter combat course to simulate fire ground tasks.  It may be used for entry level testing, annual fit for duty, or fire service competition.  The best way to train for a firefighter combat course is to run the actual course.  This is not always practical or convenient.  In the coming weeks we will provide tactical training exercises that you can perform at your fire station or local gym.

 

The “On Target Firefighter Combat Challenge” is comprised of 5 stations:

 

1.  Stair Climb/Hose Carry

2.  Equipment Hoist

3.  Chopping/Breaching

4.  Charged Hose Drag

5.  Victim Rescue

 

This week:

Combat Challenge Event:  Equipment Hoist 

  • Warm-Up Exercise:  Thai Chi Twist
  • Training Exercise:  The Kettlebell Plank Row
  • Cool-Down Exercise:  Twisted Chair
Check out this instructional video:
**Note:  If you do not have access to kettlebells, you may use dumbbells instead.

 

 

Firefighter Combat Challenge: Training Exercise #1 – The Sandbag Lunge

Many fire departments utilize a firefighter combat course to simulate fire ground tasks.  It may be used for entry level testing, annual fit for duty, or fire service competition.  The best way to train for a firefighter combat course is to run the actual course.  This is not always practical or convenient.  In the coming weeks we will provide tactical training exercises that you can perform at your fire station or local gym.

 

The “On Target Firefighter Combat Challenge” is comprised of 5 stations:

 

1.  Stair Climb/Hose Carry

2.  Equipment Hoist

3.  Chopping/Breaching

4.  Charged Hose Drag

5.  Victim Rescue

 

This week:

Combat Challenge Event:  Stair Climb/Hose Carry 

  • Warm-Up Exercise:  Hip Swing – Inside/Outside
  • Training Exercise:  The Sandbag Lunge
  • Cool-Down Exercise:  Shinbox
Check out this instructional video:


**Note:  If you do not have a sandbag, you may use a hose bundle, dumbells, etc.