Fitness, nutrition and health for law enforcement

Isabelle Suave
April 11, 2017
By Isabelle Suave
Dangerous persons and situations are likely the most recognizable threat to law enforcement officers everywhere. However, the career itself may pose an even greater risk to one’s health and long-term wellness, with its shift-work and unpredictable hours and the mental, physical and emotional traumas that are encountered on a regular basis.

It is well known that proper nutrition and consistent physical exercise both play a vital role in maintaining good health and quality of life. The human body requires quality fuel and care to function at its best — exercise and proper nutrition work synergistically to support that. Regular physical activity promotes higher energy levels, decreased stress, and lowers the risk of mental, physical and emotional injury.

Eating the right diet, consisting of whole and unprocessed foods, helps you to maintain energy levels and mental focus while increasing metabolism. Conversely, the regular consumption of processed and fast foods will negatively affect your body and place you at greater risk of diseases, injury and weight-gain.

Shiftwork and emergency services go hand in hand

Shiftwork poses serious challenges to developing and maintaining a sound and consistent exercise routine and healthy eating habits. It is commonly associated with biological and behavioural turbulences which have a direct impact on energy balance and engagement in an active lifestyle. Shiftwork also typically decreases consistent opportunities for leisure and fitness activities. Having an awareness of health and wellness topics and applying that awareness can assist shift workers in overcoming and adjusting to many of the challenges they face with diet and exercise and help them to remain active and healthy.

Despite the often irregular schedules associated with shift work, there are many ways to keep active and live a healthy lifestyle. With some additional planning for away-from-home meals and exercise sessions and a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, good habits can be established to support mental and physical wellness. Feeling physically, psychologically and emotionally well, will in turn positively impact personal, social and work life and performance.

This new column will feature information and tips about health, nutrition, balanced diets, and exercise as they relate specifically to emergency services workers. More specifically, topics will aim to provide up-to-date and relevant information for emergency service workers, such as; emerging trends in nutrition, fitness, health, law enforcement fatigue, shift-work, sleep-patterns and strategies, and a focus on an active lifestyle. Additional topics will include; wellness programs, fitness centres in police facilities and at home, trending fitness equipment, gear and tips, profiles of motivational persons, and on the job stretches and exercises to name just a few.

I look forward to helping everyone gain a better understanding of all these topics, so they can better navigate and survive their career in law enforcement.


Isabelle Sauve is a constable with the Ontario Provincial Police, currently with the Emergency Response Team (ERT) at the Almaguin Highlands Detachment in Burks Falls, about 300 km north of Toronto. She is a world-class marathon and ultra-marathon runner and fitness enthusiast. She can be contacted at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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