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Six Simple Exercises to Stay Fit for Your Shift

Today is one of those days when the EMS world is quiet. You’re caught up on trip sheets, station duties are completed, you’ve had breakfast, now what should you do? 

Sounds like the perfect time for a nap! However, you promised yourself you would try to be more active and healthier. Unfortunately, that can’t happen right now because you’re at work and you don’t want to get sweaty should a call be dispatched.

Sounds like a great reason to take that nap, right? Wrong! That’s just an excuse; how often do we get sweaty during a cardiac arrest or other taxing call? There are simple things you can do to receive the benefits of movement without even breaking a sweat. And you don’t even have to wait for downtime to do them!

Below are a six simple exercises that will help you perform everyday tasks required for your job. By doing these things on every shift, you’ll start to feel better and have more energy. The best part is that you can do these exercises without equipment and can do them almost anytime and anywhere, like while waiting for a partner to complete paperwork at the hospital.

1. Go for a brisk walk or do a few sets of jumping jacks or march/run in place.

2. While reheating your lunch in the microwave, perform 3 sets of 12 counter or wall push-ups. You can also perform push-ups using the step into the patient compartment of your ambulance.

3. Do two sets of squats, wall squats or squat holds, 30 seconds for each set. A wall squat, or wall sit, is easy to do against your ambulance.

4. While seated in a chair, you can do seated abdominal crunches, flutter kicks or seated bicycles—all of these are a great way to strengthen your core muscles, which may prevent injuries while lifting patients and equipment.

5. If you’re near steps or your ambulance, perform step-ups continuously for three minutes then check your heart rate. This is an easy way to assess your cardiovascular fitness level

6. Perform tricep dips on the step or rear step of the ambulance.

So, what’s your reason for not doing them? Give them a shot, and maybe you’ll motivate someone else to get moving!