Objective: To describe changes in aging firefighters' aerobic capacity at 3- and 13-year follow-ups, and to investigate the lifestyle factors predicting them. We evaluated the sufficiency of aerobic capacity for the demands of rescue diving.
Methods: We studied 78 male Finnish firefighters aged 30 to 44 years at baseline. The outcome variable was aerobic capacity (L·min−1 and mL·kg−1·min−1). The predictors were exercise, smoking, and drinking habits.
Results: The average annual change (range) in absolute and relative aerobic capacity was −1.12% (−3.43 to 1.39) and −1.33% (−3.98 to 1.63). Exercising at least 4 to 5 times a week was the best protective factor, and regular smoking and more than 15 units of alcohol a week were risk factors for decline in aerobic capacity.
Conclusions: To prevent the excessive decline of aerobic capacity related to work demands, we must pay particular attention to exercise regularity.