Influence of Perceived Intensity in the Police Academy on Exercise Intention Post-academy

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International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings


BACKGROUND: Police academies are typically the first job task-oriented exercise training for law enforcement officers (LEOs) ranging 12 to 36 weeks in duration. Research has demonstrated that cadets are at higher risk of injury during the academy. Physical fitness training is a critical component of LEO academy efforts to build occupational skills to meet job demands. Although research is beginning to investigate the efficacy of different training modalities, more research is needed to better understand the impact of academy training load and modality on occupational readiness and interest in maintaining exercise behaviors post-academy. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between cadets’ perceived intensity of training modalities and intention to continue physical training after the academy. METHODS: A cross sectional design was utilized with a convenience sample of 121 graduating LEO cadets (28.47±8.12 y; 84.1% male, 14.3% female). Participants completed a 5-Point Likert Scale for perceived intensity for each exercise modality (formation run day, circuit training, agility training, and defensive tactics). Cadets then rated their intention to continue physical training efforts after academy graduation (ranging from 1=Extremely Unlikely to 5=Extremely Likely). Spearman-Rho correlations were used to determine the relationship of each training modality and cadets’ intention to continue physical training after the academy. RESULTS: 88% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would continue training after the academy. Formation runs demonstrated a negative, moderate correlation with intention to continue exercising post-academy (r = -0.34, p < 0.01). No significant correlations were found between intention and circuit training (r = -0.16, p = 0.09), agility training (r = -0.08, p = 0.37) or defensive training (r = -0.04, p = 0.69). CONCLUSIONS: Formation run exertion ratings demonstrated significant intentions to not continue physical training after graduation from the law enforcement academy. These findings indicate that cadets do not favor a running modality and this approach may negatively influence future exercise adherence. Additional research is warranted to explore the relationship between specific exercise modalities and post-academy exercise adherence.


Georgia Southern University faculty members, Richard Cleveland and Bridget Melton co-authored Influence of Perceived Intensity in the Police Academy on Exercise Intention Post-academy.