Health at Forefront: Niigata Firefighters Combat Age with Train

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Firefighters pedal on stationary bikes in Tsubame, Niigata Prefecture.

NIIGATA — A hearth division headquarters in Niigata Prefecture has launched a power coaching program aimed toward workers aged 50 and above, looking for to maintain them preventing on the frontlines of disasters and emergency response even after they flip 60. This distinctive initiative, one of many first of its form within the nation, follows amendments to the Native Public Service Regulation applied in April, which is able to steadily elevate the retirement age of native authorities workers to 65. The age will probably be raised by one 12 months each two years from fiscal 2023 to fiscal 2031.

In Might, 11 firefighters from the headquarters, which has jurisdiction over Niigata Metropolis-neighbors Tsubame and Yahiko, had been seen pedaling away on stationary bikes and firming their legs and arms on different gear at a sports activities facility in Tsubame. At a sure level, one of many males panted out, “That is robust …”

The hearth division headquarters began the coaching as a part of its well being promotion program in Might. Hitoshi Hatta, 56, chief of Yahiko Hearth Station and a participant in this system, has been specializing in jogging, totally on his days off. “I’ve been feeling my bodily power wane. As I’ve again ache, I need to keep my power with a routine that fits me,” he stated. Kazuaki Yamada, 55, who as head of the prevention division primarily works at his desk, expressed nervousness about whether or not his physique would be capable to sustain if he needed to return to the sector.

The coaching lasts for greater than two hours per session, and goal workers are supposed to finish no less than one session per week. Primarily based on the outcomes of bodily checks and power measurements, particular person exercise plans are created and targets are set, similar to “decreasing physique fats by means of train and an everyday food plan [avoiding overeating and excessive drinking].”

As of April 1, there have been 46 workers over the age of fifty on the headquarters. By fiscal 2031, when the retirement age is about to be 65, it’s projected that about 20% of the workers will probably be over 60 and greater than half will probably be over 50, making the senior workforce an indispensable useful resource.

In accordance with the Hearth and Catastrophe Administration Company, such efforts concentrating on these over 60 are uncommon nationwide.

Ryuji Sasazaki, 52, who’s answerable for the well being program, emphasizes the importance of retaining senior workers bodily match. “Not solely does it contribute to defending the lives of residents, but it surely additionally straight impacts the well being and happiness of the workers members themselves,” he stated. Sasazaki, too, is retaining match, battling it out with the exercise machines.

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