The Importance Of Physical Fitness For Security Guards

Learn why physical fitness is crucial for security guards to effectively manage their duties and ensure personal safety.

No doubt about it, a security guard’s job can be physically demanding. It’s easy to picture a security guard apprehending a thief, carrying an injured person to safety, or holding back a surging crowd. While on patrol or responding to an incident, security guards spend most of the day on their feet.

The exact environment and duties of a security guard can vary quite broadly. They could be guarding a cultural museum that rarely sees an incident or a high-profile individual who requires protection from recurring physical threats.

For the majority of work that falls between these extreme examples, security guards are expected to be physically fit and able. Here’s what to consider in terms of personal health and fitness if you want to become a security guard.

The Physical Demands of Security Guard Jobs

The physical demands of security guard work include walking and standing for long periods of time, as well as responding to situations that might demand strength, agility, endurance, and coordination. To ensure the safety of the public and adequate security for establishments that hire licensed guards, security guard training includes basic physical fitness requirements.

Failure to meet these requirements would deem a person unfit to serve as a security guard since they would not be able to fulfil specific essential duties. Think of security guard work as a combination of long periods spent observing and patrolling with an unpredictable dose of intense response. Being able to react and move quickly at a moment’s notice is critical. That requires a proactive approach to physical fitness in order to keep you agile, effective, and injury-free.

A security guard’s job demands they have the upper body strength to move heavy objects or people, plus the cardiovascular endurance to pursue a trespasser or carry a civilian to safety. To support their full range of motion and the ability to defend themselves or disarm dangerous individuals, security guards also need to develop core strength, balance, grip strength, and a reliable ability to run, jump, crouch, climb, and even crawl.

Because the physical demands of a security guard’s job can be so diverse, their own physical fitness needs to be comprehensive and well-rounded. While Canada doesn’t have a legal guideline for the physical fitness of security guards, the industry has, over time, developed its own generally accepted standards. Job listings might also include specific physical abilities required to be effective in that role, such as lifting heavy objects or handling rowdy patrons.

How Physical Fitness Benefits Security Guards

Being physically fit makes it easier for security guards to handle the most challenging parts of their jobs. Confidence in one's physical abilities is critical to having the instant reaction time and courage necessary to charge into whatever situation may arise.

Physical fitness equips security guards with the necessary strength, agility, and endurance to pursue a suspect, manage a crowd, or conduct long patrols. They have to avoid fatigue and maintain alertness even after a long day of physical activity or challenging conditions. Physical fitness improves stamina, enabling them to remain alert and vigilant throughout their shifts, which is essential for maintaining security and spotting potential threats early.

Strength and mobility might be the most important benefits. The ability to move quickly, restrain individuals, or handle heavy objects safely is often required in security work. Regular physical training enhances muscle strength and overall mobility, enabling guards to handle these physically demanding tasks easily without straining themselves.

Avoiding Injuries

A security guard might not use all of their physical abilities every day. They might go a long time without needing to elevate their heart rate too much. Sometimes business is quiet.

But then, all of a sudden, an alarm goes off. A window breaks. A customer screams. The power goes out. And security guards spring into action.

Immediately reacting to the physical needs of the situation can cause injury to out-of-shape individuals, straining muscles, joints, and bones that aren’t conditioned for that kind of physical activity. Think of common sports injuries like a dislocation, fracture, shin splints, or damage to tendons, joints, or muscles. To prevent these kinds of injuries, security guards need to build strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular (heart and lung) endurance.

Physical fitness for security guards is, in many ways, about maintenance. They need to maintain a certain level of physical ability so that it’s at the ready when they need it, even if they rarely have to deploy their muscular strength. They also need to prevent injury from repetitive stress and job-specific risks and should look for specialized exercises and stretches for those.

General physical fitness will also prevent the security guard from getting sick as often since regular exercise boosts the immune system. That means they can operate at full capacity — even a stuffy nose can limit someone’s ability to catch their breath while pursuing a suspect, for instance.

Mental and Emotional Fitness for Security Guards

Just as important as your ability to lift, detain, and pursue is your ability to keep your cool, maintain focus, and control your emotions in a wide variety of situations. Every job has its impact on a person’s mental health, but putting yourself in the path of danger and in a role of great responsibility can be a lot to handle.

Working on your mental and emotional health keeps your mind ready, able, and willing to make quick decisions in heated scenarios. It also prepares you for frustrating and enraging encounters with disorderly or dangerous patrons. Security guards can have a lot of unfriendly language thrown their way and they can also be put in dangerous and traumatic positions, so they need to have thick skin to avoid emotional turmoil or outbursts.

Thankfully, training for the physical demands of security work also benefits your mental health. Physical exercise is a known stress reliever. It helps in reducing the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline while stimulating the production of endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators. Physical fitness also increases self-esteem and confidence, which are essential for security guards who need to assert authority and handle tense situations effectively.

Regular physical activity actually improves blood flow to the brain, which can help enhance cognitive functions such as problem-solving, memory, and decision-making. These are crucial skills for security guards who must make quick, informed decisions in emergencies. Exercise also helps you sleep better at night, and a well-rested security guard is most effective.

Fitness Regimes for Security Guards

To succeed and thrive as a security guard, your fitness regime should include cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training.

Cardiovascular Exercise for Security Guards

Can you chase down a thief without getting winded?

Regular jogging or running helps build endurance and speed, ensuring a security guard can chase down a suspect if necessary. Interval training, such as sprinting for short bursts followed by a walking recovery, mimics the sudden starts and stops that can occur on the job.

Additionally, cycling or swimming can be excellent for improving heart health without putting too much strain on the joints, making these activities ideal for guards looking for low-impact options.

Strength Training for Security Guards

Can you move a heavy object that’s blocking the exit?

Strength training is vital for security guards to handle physical confrontations and other demanding tasks effectively. Incorporating exercises like squats and deadlifts can enhance lower body strength, which is crucial for stability and power. Upper body strength can be targeted through bench presses and pull-ups, which builds the power necessary to restrain a person or move heavy objects.

To simulate real-life scenarios, security guards can also engage in functional training using sandbags or kettlebells, which improves grip strength and overall muscle coordination. Plenty of fitness programs include regimens derived from police, army, and navy training that develop strength specifically valuable to the demands of a security guard’s daily life.

Recommended Stretches for Security Guards

Can you run, jump, and reach — and be physically active without injuring yourself?

Flexibility and mobility are key to preventing injuries for security guards, who often have to move suddenly or maintain difficult positions. Dynamic stretches such as leg swings and arm circles are beneficial at the start of a shift to prepare the body for movement. Static stretches, including the hamstring stretch and the quadriceps stretch, are ideal post-shift to help maintain muscle elasticity and reduce stiffness.

Incorporating yoga or other flexibility training into your exercise routine can help improve flexibility, balance, and mental focus, which all work together to help you reliably deliver the power and strength you have inside.

Fit for the Job

For security guards, being “fit for the job” can be taken literally. Whether they’re on vigilant patrol or combatting an intruder, they need strength, agility, and mobility to protect the establishment and its people.

It’s not all about muscle and speed, though. Security guards need to develop plenty of other important skills to succeed in the role. If you’re ready to embark on this career path, you can get started by enrolling in the comprehensive training required to become a licensed security guard.

Quinn Smith ·

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