It is my job, not my age: Fitness loss between police cadets and officers not explained by age

Rob Marc Orr, James Dawes, Rodney R Pope, J Terry

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Purpose: Levels of fitness are often associated with age in tactical populations with age-graded fitness assessments often reflecting this fact. However, there is also evidence to suggest that in law enforcement in particular, officers lose fitness because of the sedentary nature of their work. On this basis, the aim of this study was to profile and compare the anthropometric and fitness characteristics of police academy cadets and officers of varying ages. Methods: Data for 84 police cadets (♂ = 66, mean age = 27.96 ± 5.73 years; ♀ = 18, mean age = 30.50 ± 5.76 years) and 80 police officers (♂ = 73, mean age = 39.43 ± 8.28 years; ♀ = 7, mean age = 37.86 ± 3.67 years) were compiled. Data included participant age, anthropometric measurements (weight, body fat percentage, lean mass and fat mass) and fitness measurements (1-minute push-up, 1-minute sit-up, 1RM bench press, vertical jump, 300-meter run and 1.5-mile run). Descriptive analyses were followed by t-tests and analyses of covariance to examine differences. Results: Male cadets exhibited significantly lower fat mass than male officers (12.4 vs 15.1 kg, p = 0.003) but these differences were explained by age differences (p = 0.046). Male cadets were more aerobically fit and exhibited greater muscular endurance than male officers (p < 0.001 for all measures) and this difference was not explained by age differences (p > 0.80 for all measures). Male cadets also exhibited higher anaerobic fitness than male officers (p < 0.001) and age differences only partially explained this difference (p = 0.01). Female cadets exhibited greater upper body strength and muscular endurance than female officers (p < 0.004 for all measures), independent of age. Conclusion: The occupational environment of police officers, more so than age, may have a negative impact on their levels of fitness. Strategies to increase officer fitness may need to be considered when developing injury prevention strategies as well as when determining their level of sporting level of competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue numbers3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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