Graduation June 21, 2024 – Guest Speaker Ken West, President & CEO of HCA Florida JFK Hospital

4 Quick Workouts for Paramedics

The physical demands of being a paramedic often mean they have to work long shifts, usually 12 hours. During shifts, paramedics respond to myriad calls and are dispatched to several emergencies that may require them to rush, jump, carry weight, kneel, and bend while taking care of patients. 

Compared to the general population, the incidence of physical injury and mental health issues are far higher for emergency medical service providers such as paramedics. Good physical health is directly related to mental health and resilience. Aside from getting enough sleep and eating right, doing workouts can help boost mood, reduce stress, and help avoid chronic illness. In short, working out helps paramedics become physically fit while improving their mood and mental health. 

Workouts for Paramedics

It can sometimes seem impossible for paramedics to get into a regular workout program because of their hectic schedules. But that doesn’t mean they can’t engage in exercise. Here are some of the workouts paramedics can do even while they’re on the go: 

  1. Squats

Squats are great for strengthening the lower body, particularly the glutes and quadriceps. This will help paramedics when they need to carry patients since it also allows them to use and train their core muscles. 

The movement also improves the bones, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the leg muscles. Squats are also great for training the body to distribute the weight on the legs. As such, squats are critical for making paramedics’ knees more stable by improving the strength and stability of the knees and ankles. 

To maximize the benefits of the squat, it’s important to have proper posture. Beginners can use a resistance band and attach it to a secure point. Grab the band and move away from the anchor point to increase the resistance. Make sure that the feet are positioned at least shoulder-width apart. Slowly go down. There should be a strain on the glutes and quadriceps muscles. Do at least 15 repetitions for three sets. 

  1. Push-Ups

Paramedics also need to strengthen their arms. Doing push-ups is one of the most effective and fastest ways to build upper body strength, particularly working the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Push-ups can also work the lower back and core muscles when done in proper form. 

Push-ups are perfect for paramedics on the go because they can be done anywhere and any time—without requiring any special equipment. While doing traditional push-ups regularly may be enough, adding variations to the routine is also wise. Some of the effective ones that can help power your upper body include:

  • Narrow push-ups
  • Wide push-ups
  • Rolling push-ups
  • Push-ups with hip abduction

To maximize the effectiveness of the push-up, keep the back straight while engaging the core. The glutes should be kept down, and the entire body should follow a straight line, not sagging or arching. Start in a high plank position and bring the body down using the arms. For those who find it a bit challenging at first, doing a kneeling push-up can help ease their way. 

  1. Running 

Paramedics are trained not to run when responding to calls, but it doesn’t mean they can’t do it as part of their workout routine. Whether outdoors or on a treadmill, running offers tons of benefits to support paramedics’ abilities on the job. Running helps increase cardiac and respiratory strength.

A study showed that doing just 5 to 10 minutes of running, even at a moderate pace, can significantly reduce the risk of mortality from strokes, heart attacks, and other conditions. However, the recommendation is to run at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week to achieve the best results.

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  1. Step-Ups

Step-ups are a simple exercise that can help paramedics work their leg and glute muscles. They target the hamstrings and quadriceps that condition the lower body. Paramedics can use a small step stool or use the stairs in their office. The idea is to have a ledge where they can place their foot as they lift their body up and down onto the step. 

The key to doing step-ups effectively is to keep the back straight and abdominal muscles engaged. To prevent accidents, it’s also best to ensure the foot is planted well on the step. For beginners, start with a low step height and gradually increase it when the legs are stronger. Make sure to use alternating feet each time. 

General Reminders

Before doing each workout, make sure that your body is warmed up. Walk around for five minutes and do dynamic stretches like arm circles, jumping jacks, or hamstring curls. This will help reduce the chance of injury to the muscles in preparation for the quick workout you’re about to do. 

Remember, there are some necessary attributes to become a paramedic, one of which is being physically fit. If you want to learn more about being a paramedic, explore our Programs page. 

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