Scientists Analyzed Firefighters After Intense Training – Here’s What They Found
Firefighters are highly esteemed in society because they risk their life in order to save the people and property from disaster and destruction.
Although fighting fires is the most conspicuous aspect of their job, the preparation firefighters put in throughout every week consumes far more time. Indeed, without their elite training and physical fitness, firefighters could not fulfill many of their heroic missions.
While the public gives its attention is given to what’s going on around firefighters as they perform their call of duty in the heat of the moment, far less curiosity is given to what’s happening inside their bodies during that time.
However, a team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently look at that exact question and shared the findings of their study last month. Science Daily provided the following summary:
The 11 young firefighters went through a rigorous training exercise, carrying up to 40 pounds of gear over hilly terrain during a 45-minute training exercise in the California sun. Gloves, helmets, flashlights, goggles, and more weighted them down as they sprinted through the countryside wearing fire-resistant clothing to show they were ready to serve as wildland firefighters.
When the training was over, they immediately went to the medical tent — not to rest and recover but to give samples of their blood, saliva, and urine for analysis by a team of scientists equipped with needles, test tubes, cold packs, and the gear of their own trade.
As expected, the team detected hundreds of molecular changes in the firefighters.
The differences before and after exercise underscored the body’s efforts at tissue damage and repair, maintenance of fluid balance, efforts to keep up with increased energy and oxygen demand, and the body’s attempts to repair and regenerate its proteins and other important substances.
The study authors noted that more studies like this are needed to shed light on the unique vocation and the demands it puts on the body.
“People who are very fit might be more prone to viral respiratory infection immediately after vigorous exercise,” Ernesto Nakayasu said. “Having less inflammatory activity to fight off an infection could be one cause.”