Fitness Policies Within the Fire Service: A Pilot Investigation of Exercise Adherence on Fitness Outcomes Among Rural Firefighters


The purpose of this study was to investigate the adherence to departmental fitness policies and to evaluate the impact of on-duty firefighters’ adherence to fitness outcomes. This cross-sectional designed study utilized a convenience sample of 40 career firefighters from one department in rural southeast Georgia. Onsite gym attendance logs were recorded during a 10-month period. Firefighters were classified as lowest (0-16 sessions), low (17-30 sessions), moderate (31-44 sessions), or high (45+ sessions) adherence for analyses based on gym attendance. The fitness outcomes were retrieved from required annual fitness testing, including measurements of muscular strength (1RMest leg press and 1RMest bench press), muscular endurance (pushup), muscle power (vertical jump), cardiovascular fitness (submaximal treadmill), mobility (functional movement screen), and flexibility (shoulder elevation). Only 12.5% (n = 5) of firefighters complied with the department’s fitness policy of a minimum 75% adherence rate. Furthermore, there were significant differences (P ≤.05) between various muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility between adherence rates. This study indicated that firefighters that complied more with the fitness policies were more physically fit than those that did not. Considerations should be made to promote and enforce departmental fitness policies to ensure that firefighters can physically perform their responsibilities.

Document Type





exercise programs, first responder, fitness outcomes, NFPA guidelines

Publication Date


Journal Title

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine