OBJECTIVES Firefighters play a critical role in high-temperature environments that demand substantial physical strength for efficient job performance. However, South Korean firefighters face challenges in maintaining optimal fitness levels due to limited opportunities for exercise. Factors that contribute to this issue include shift work, frequent dispatches, and the absence of exercise instructors. Met hods At total of 20 male Korean firefighters were divided into an exercise group (EG) and a control group (CG) with ten participants each. The EG group underwent an 8-week exercise intervention at a fire academy in Busan using a kinect-based exercise device called Virtual Mate (VM), while the CG group maintained their regular lifestyle without any additional exercise. Pre- and post-assessments were conducted, including the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), a physical fitness evaluation commonly used for firefighting duties in North America, the Korea Firefighter Performance Battery (KFPB), which is a modified version of CPAT, and basic physical fitness tests. The effect of exercise was analyzed using statistical methods, including repeated measures analysis of variance and paired t-tests. Results Significant group-by-time interactions were observed for CPAT completion time (p = .004) and KFPB completion time (p = .012). After 8 weeks of exercise, the EG demonstrated a significant decrease in CPAT completion time (543.7 ± 93.0 sec vs. 500.8 ± 64.1 sec, p = .004) and KFPB completion time (584.1 ± 47.8 sec vs. 525.3 ± 16.2 sec, p = .001), while the CG did not show significant changes. In terms of basic physical fitness, only in EG, number of sit-ups performed in one minute significantly increased (p < .001) Conclusions The Kinect-based exercise device, VM, proves to be a valuable solution for addressing the practical challenges faced by Korean firefighters, ultimately enhancing their physical fitness.
Conflicts of Interest