The health and fitness characteristics of civilian jailer recruits prior to academy training

Robert Lockie, Matthew R. Moreno, Joseph Dulla, Rob Marc Orr, Jay Dawes, Karly Rodas

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Abstract

Civilian jailer (CJ) recruits may not complete fitness testing within their hiring process. As certain job tasks in custody/jail facilities can be physically demanding (e.g., inmate restraint), better health and fitness should help a recruit graduate from a CJ academy and be prepared for the occupation. This study investigated the health and fitness characteristics of CJ recruits entering academy training, detailed between-sex differences, and categorized recruits relative to population norms. Retrospective analysis was conducted on data from 89 CJ recruits (48 males, 41 females) across three academy classes from one law enforcement agency. The following were measured before academy: resting heart rate (RHR); blood pressure (BP); height, body mass, and body mass index (BMI); waist circumference; sit-and-reach; grip strength; 60-s push-ups; and YMCA step test recovery heart rate (HR). Independent samples t-tests derived any between-sex differences. Recruit data were compared to categorical population norms. The results indicated that male recruits were taller, heavier, had greater grip strength, and completed more push-ups than female recruits (p < 0.001). Approximately 53% of recruits were overweight or obese according to BMI, ~63% had an RHR below average-to-very poor, and ~75% had elevated BP or hypertension. Most recruits had good-to-excellent flexibility (sit-and-reach; ~66%) and muscular endurance (push-ups; ~85%). However, ~70% of recruits had fair-to-poor grip strength, and ~79% had poor-to-very poor aerobic fitness measured by step test recovery HR. Aerobic conditioning and strength training should be a focus of CJ recruits during academy. Furthermore, better aerobic fitness should benefit job performance and lessen cardiovascular disease risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-78
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Volume15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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