Whilst going to a fire call once as a firefighter I was climbing the stars with my co-firefighter whom was also a bodybuilder in his spare time. We had our breathing apparatus donned and when we got to the top of the fourth floor and my co-firefighter was breathing so heavy I thought f–k he is going run out of air whilst we are inside the fire. As it happened he did run out of air and his whistle and alarm went off and the emergency crew had to come get us whilst we went into entrapment procedure after I exchanged air with him.
He clearly was not what I would call ‘firefighter fit’. He had the strength and size but clearly did not have the aerobic capacity to go the distance inside the fire. Becoming fit for firefighting takes hard work however it can be done and infact you don’t have to be a firefighter to be ‘firefighter fit’ so this is for anyone wanting to improve their fitness and in particular your aerobic capacity.
In order to improve your aerobic fitness, you must do exercise that meets a minimum intensity. It has to increase your heart rate and your breathing well above rest. You get to that minimum intensity in many ways from running track workouts to playing football (soccer) to doing a cardio workout in the gym. The real key is not what you’re doing but how hard what you’re doing is. So irrespective of what you’re doing, you can improve your aerobic fitness by doing something that is moderately hard for a long period of time or something that’s more than moderately hard for a short period of time.
The higher the intensity of the exercise, the greater the rate of improvement in your fitness. That’s why high intensity interval training is so popular. It benefits your aerobic fitness more than the long runs the long distance runners used to do at my old running club. A high intensity interval training workout can be a mixed bag of very difficult short intervals mixed with active rest intervals. When I used to do my high intensity workout it only used to take 10 to 15 minutes! So it won’t take you long to become fit for firefighting or fit for life in general thus living a longer life.