Bone and Joint Institute

Comparison of Canadian firefighters and healthy controls based on submaximal fitness testing and strength considering age and gender

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International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics





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© 2017, © 2017 Central Institute for Labour Protection–National Research Institute (CIOP-PIB). Introduction. Few studies have addressed whether firefighters are fitter than the general population and possess sufficient levels of aerobic capacity and muscle strength to perform on-duty tasks in a safe and efficient manner, considering age and gender. We aimed to evaluate the fitness levels of Hamilton firefighters, and to determine the effects of age and gender. Methods. In total, 89 participants were recruited. The modified Canadian aerobic fitness test was used to determine participants’ estimated maximal oxygen consumption (V O2max ) levels. For upper and lower body strength levels, a calibrated J-Tech hand-held dynamometer and a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lifting device was used respectively. Results. Firefighters’ mean (SD) V O2max level was 40.30 ± 6.25 ml·kg −1 ·min −1 . Age proved to have a statistically significant impact on V O2max (p < 0.001). Gender displayed statistically significant effects on strength levels. Firefighters’ age was the only statistically significant independent variable, and accounted for 61.00% of the variance in firefighters’ aerobic capacity levels. Conclusions. Firefighters possessed somewhat similar aerobic capacities but much higher levels of body strength when compared with the general population. With age, firefighters’ aerobic capacities decreased; however, their upper and lower body strength levels remained the same.

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