It goes without saying that physical fitness is an essential part of being a security officer. However, officers sometimes struggle to maintain a healthy physique.
While spending time in a gym is usually advocated to achieve the desired level of fitness, it is not always possible or practical for some security officers. Thankfully, there are several ways in which officers can maintain fitness and overall wellness while on duty.
The Importance Of Fitness
Security officers often need to respond to the unexpected quickly and effectively. Whether that be someone acting suspiciously, a shoplifter, or an armed robber, a lack of physical fitness on the officer’s part is likely to endanger themselves as well as those who trust them for protection.
Conversely, being physically and mentally fit means officers have better chances of realizing that an incident is occurring and can respond more successfully. There are 8 ways that security officers can easily improve their fitness and do their jobs more effectively.
1. Healthy Food Choices
As tempting as sugary snacks, pies, burgers, chips, and other junk foods can be, they are the worst choices for anyone who is weight and health-conscious. Fitness begins with proper nutrition; foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Loading up on carbohydrates can offer a short, sharp burst of energy, but they ultimately lead to dulled senses and sluggishness. Exchanging the donuts and carb-loaded snacks in favor of fresh or dried fruit, nuts, salads, cheese, boiled eggs, whole grain bread, and plain yogurt sweetened with honey or stevia can help to start making these changes. While it is not necessary to give up caffeinated drinks entirely, officers should alternate their caffeine intake with water so they stay hydrated.
2. Stretching For Wellness
Stretching is another way in which officers can enhance their wellness while on duty, especially if they are stationed in one place and don’t frequently move from checkpoint to checkpoint. Staying seated for a long time can lead to tightened hamstrings, which ultimately can affect walking and running.
Stretching, however basic, can help promote and maintain muscle strength and flexibility, which in turn can improve the health of the body’s joints.
3. Embrace The Benefits of Standing
Officers stationed at a desk may find that their fitness will improve if they spend at least 15 minutes of every hour standing up. Alternatively, they can alternate periods of sitting and standing regularly in order to ensure they do not remain in a sedentary position for too long.
There are several benefits associated with standing, such as improved core muscle strength, better posture, and blood sugar levels that normalize faster after eating.
Standing also decreases the risk of developing certain forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
4. Encourage Mental Fitness
Mental fitness goes hand in hand with physical fitness, so security officers should aim to develop and maintain both. A lack of stimulation on the job can lead to unnecessary distractions, lethargy, and eating out of boredom. However, aiming to remain mentally stimulated should not provide an excuse to play games. Instead, a security officer can exercise their brain by memorizing words from a new language, perfecting memory recall exercises, or similar brain-training activities.
As officers are generally assigned specific orders per shift, they should try and maximize any potential mental stimulation from these tasks. Even learning to type up reports properly or mastering neater handwriting gives the gray matter a workout.
5. Use The Stairs
Taking the elevator can be a tempting prospect, but using the stairs is one of the best ways to maintain physical wellness while on duty. Research shows that stair-climbing helps strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular health, and decreases the risk of stroke.
Using stairs has also been shown to burn more calories than jogging, plus unlike running, it has less of an impact on the knees.
6. Muscle Training At Work
Many bodyweight and isometric exercises are simple enough for security officers to do while on duty. If it is not possible to do them during the active periods on shift, they can be done before the shift begins or during a break.
Examples of such exercises include:
- Push-ups: Almost everyone is familiar with push-ups, which are an excellent way to develop strength in the upper body.
- Wall sits: Wall sits form right angles at the hips and at the knees, which help to strengthen the quadriceps muscles.
- Planks: Planks are a good exercise for developing upper body and core strength.
7. Use Breaks Well
Eating and then doing nothing is a longstanding way of spending one’s break time, but doing so is not likely to contribute much to health and wellness. There are many ways in which security officers can use their breaks to stay fit.
A break is an ideal time to do the previously mentioned physical and mental exercises that will keep officers energized and motivated for the next part of their shift. Whether that be a few push-ups or climbing the stairs all the way to the top, followed by a healthy snack and a Sudoku puzzle, it can leave officers physically and mentally more fit than before.
Another way to promote wellness while on a break, especially if officers are stationed in indoor environments with air conditioning and artificial lighting is to go outside for sunshine and fresh air, which can revitalize the body and mind.
8. Keep Active Off Duty
Staying active off duty is another way in which security officers can keep fit. If an officer has become accustomed to sitting for long periods, they may continue this habit at home. However, if they are encouraged to exercise in their downtime, and if they support their level of activity with the healthy foods, water, and exercises suggested above, they will find that their capacity for activity increases.
It’s Always a Good Time To Get Moving
As can be seen, promoting health and fitness among security staff pays off. Not only will security officers feel healthier, but they’ll also be more alert, and their reaction times can improve too.
At the end of the day, a job shouldn’t determine your fitness levels. Staying fit is everyone's business.