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Hugh Carey, Deseret News

Salt Lake firefighters compete in heart challenge obstacle course

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Apr 8th, 2014 @ 8:46pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Local firefighters displayed their stamina on an obstacle course designed to get their hearts pumping, and even though their jobs require regular heavy lifting, some of them found they may have some work to do.

Fifteen Salt Lake firefighters pulled their way through an obstacle course built to stress their hearts and test their healthiness. The course simulates experiences firefighters actually have on the job.

Firefighter Terry Addison said the course consisted of "walking and trying to dodge different things, pulling hose lines, carrying different hoses, possibly having to carry a live person or someone that's injured out of a live scene, even a fellow firefighter if they happen to go down."

The Intermountain Medical Center selected the firefighters. They are all currently on a 100-day heart improvement challenge. That means healthy meals, workouts five times a week and nutrition classes.

“We've done mayors two years ago, and then last year we did elementary school principals. And so this year we chose firefighters because we thought that maybe they could have some great influence on their coworkers," said Michele Barker, director of cardiac rehab at IMC.

But this year's obstacle course goes above and beyond what the normal heart challenge includes.

"I guess that's supposed to simulate breaking down doors,” Barker said. “I don't know if they do that every day so that seems to be the hardest.”

The heart challenge runs through June, and at the end the firefighters will face the obstacle course again and try to beat Tuesday’s time.

The firefighter with the most improved result in the course, as well as in other areas like cholesterol and weight, will be declared the overall winner.

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