If you are planning to enter the police academy and begin a career in law enforcement, you need to be physically fit. Many of your duties as a police officer will involve sudden bursts of physical activity, such as running to catch a suspect or to save a life. Even the appearance of physical fitness can be helpful to you. If you appear fit, a criminal is less likely to try to fight with you. Fitness also helps you to deal with the stress associated with a career in law enforcement. Preparing yourself to pass the police physical fitness test and enter the police academy requires planning and discipline on your part.
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Go to your doctor and have a physical before beginning your fitness program, regardless of your age.
Follow a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods and drink plenty of water. Follow any specific recommendations your doctor makes regarding your diet.
Decide what type of fitness program you want to start. You might want to gather ideas from several sources and design your own program, hire a personal trainer or follow a structured program designed especially for police work. Stew Smith, a certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, recommends following the FBI SWAT workout because its exercises are similar to those at the police academy.
Decide on the best time of day for you to exercise.
Begin your fitness program three to six months before your scheduled physical fitness test if you are not in good shape. Begin one or two months before the test if you are in good shape.
Spend about five minutes warming up with an activity such as arm circles or knee lifts.
Include running, sprinting, weightlifting, agility training and stretching in your fitness program. If you enjoy activities such as swimming, biking and racquetball, including them will add some variety to your program and might make it easier for you to stick to it.
Keep some goals in mind, regardless of what fitness program you use to meet them. For example, one goal might be the ability to run 2 miles with an average of eight minutes per mile. Another might be to do 20 pushups in less than a minute or 30 situps in less than a minute.
Schedule a day to rest from working out. On that day, you can stretch, but do not perform any other type of exercise.
Schedule one or two days to rest immediately before the day of your police physical fitness test because the test is very rigorous.