Among the various medical professions, EMTs and paramedics have the highest demand for physical fitness. As an EMT you will be the first on the scene to many accidents and medical emergencies which requires you to lift and maneuver patients often unconscious, as well as perform CPR quite frequently and sometimes at great length. Performing CPR is a physically demanding task consisting of 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute, rotating with two breath intervals. The chest compressions are done firmly just below the sternum sometimes so powerfully that ribs are broken. Depending on the job there are times that EMTs could perform CPR for hours such as in a life flight scenario with a critically injured patient having heart failure and breathing difficulty.
I personally witnessed a team of EMTs carry an unconscious patient on a stretcher approximately one half mile over rocky terrain to the nearest road where the ambulance was waiting. So the physical demand can be somewhat extreme under certain conditions and you never know what to expect depending on the region and type of job you acquire.
Considering the potential circumstances you might find yourself working under another thing to consider is your physical wellness with regards to past injuries or problems such as osteoporosis, arthritis, back pain or injuries and so forth. You’ll be working on your knees and lifting patients from a ground lying position onto a gurney.
Your vision should be good, glasses and contacts shouldn’t propose any problems. You’ll need to be able to read small print on different medical devices or differentiate colors.
Here are some basic pointers and references to improve your physical fitness.
- Cardio may be the most important to an EMT because of the potential need to perform CPR for extended periods of time. Your ability to do so may be the difference in saving an individual’s life. Examples of cardio exercises are jogging and swimming for long distances, anything that raises your heart rate and can be maintained for extended workouts, a minimum of 20 minutes.
- Start a regular weight training program. There are local gyms in nearly every area with personal training lessons if needed, or you can buy a few weights for your house that you can utilize to improve your home workouts. Weight training allows you to build muscle, increase your metabolism and improve endurance. If you’ve ever felt out of shape and performed some sort of physically demanding work, you probably felt shaky and weak afterward. You’ll want to avoid that since you may need to start IVs or other medical interventions that require a steady hand. Being physically fit will help prevent shaky or weak muscles after some vigorous activities.
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- Drink water and cut back on soft drinks and alcohol. Eat healthier food. Most people eat too few fruits and vegetables and too much processed food, especially desserts. Proper eating helps improve the results of your exercise by fueling your body with good energy. It also helps speed up your metabolism. High sugar slows down metabolism.
EMT Physical Fitness