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How to have a healthy lifestyle as a law enforcement officer

Friends, at the end of the day, your health is largely in your hands. Take some extra time to take care of you

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Here’s the bad news. On average, law enforcement officers live at least 10 years less than folks in other professions. Or die 10 years earlier if you want to put it that way. Yep, you heard me right. And it shouldn’t be a big surprise, considering the adverse impact this lifestyle has on you.

Take sleep for example. The rigors of shiftwork take a toll on our bodies and contribute to a host of health concerns. One study of nearly 5,000 law enforcement officers found that over 40% suffered from at least one type of sleep disorder. Almost 34% had sleep apnea.

Diet is another factor. That fast food or gas station candy bar contributes to a high-fat diet with severe consequences. It’s no wonder another big study found most officers have a BMI (Body Mass Index) around 30. This is not good. This can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and gastrointestinal problems. I could go on and on, but you get my point.

So, what can you do about it? For starters, know your body and know your limitations. Get adequate rest and make healthy food choices. Plan and pack your meals whenever possible. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Take time to exercise. Even light cardio for 20 minutes per day is better than nothing. Take time off and enjoy activities that aren’t related to work.

Research employee wellness options. Chances are your agency or your insurance provider have resources that can help you along the way.

Finally, don’t forget to schedule that annual physical. Discuss any concerns you may have with your healthcare provider.

Friends, at the end of the day, your health is largely in your hands. Take some extra time to take care of yourself. We all know the importance of coming home after every shift. It’s essential we keep coming home long after our career is over, too. Your family will certainly appreciate it.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.

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