Monday, September 15, 2014

Health and Fitness in EMS- It Ain't Easy

It's hard to stay in shape while living the EMS lifestyle- crazy schedules, sedentary, bad diet, stress- it all adds up.

I'll tell you what prompted this article- last night I was in the Medic room of our Command hospital. They had a slideshow going on a big screen TV with photographs of local EMS providers. Almost without exception everyone was obese. Some of the medics and EMT's were so grossly overweight I doubt very much if they could adequately function in EMS- they definitely couldn't self-rescue.

So here's my contribution to my fellow Paramedics, EMT's and first responders everywhere. A few tips on diet, exercise and lifestyle from a fulltime, in the trenches Paramedic. Please remember- I am NOT a doctor, a nutritionist or physical trainer. I'm just a medic like you and this is stuff that works for me. Try it at your own risk but please- do something. TODAY!

First things first- sleep. You have to sleep. I know- there's no time. Make time. Get your sleep, put sleep at the top of every days to do list.
Back in the olden days when armies marched for days and days to do battle, the opposing general would try to deny his enemy sleep before he would move his troops in for the kill. You have to sleep.

Diet- lots of info online, do some Google-ing  and figure it out. Here are a couple things I have found need to be kept in mind. A sedentary lifestyle requires way less calories than you are probably eating right now. Keep track of what you eat- 1500 to 2000 calories a day should be plenty. Plenty.

Fast food of all types is off limits. Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC and any and all similar places have no healthy choices. NONE. Don't eat that shit- it will kill you.

Medic Room snacks- nope, don't do it.

Buy a soft cooler and bring food, in sensible portions from home.

Here is a sample of a daily food intake that is fairly healthy and portable. It is what I ate yesterday.

Breakfast- 2 hard boiled eggs, a 3 oz. piece of ham, 4 oz of unsweetened apple sauce, water
Snack- 1oz raw almonds, 1oz raisons
Lunch- peanut butter and fresh blueberry sandwich, an apple, water
Snack- 1oz raw almonds, 1oz raisons
Dinner- 2 slow cooked chicken thighs, salad, asparagus, water
Snack- yogurt with strawberries and a banana.

No food after 1900- or arrange your meals to fit your schedule, but fast for 8 to 12 hours a day.

Exercise- ya gotta keep movin'...
When I can I run, mountain bike, hike, workout etc, etc.
Here is a quick workout you can do anywhere- even at work.

Do a web search for instructions on the various exercises... here goes-

Stretch- 2 minutes
20 squats
10 pushups
15 second plank
20 trunk twisters
20 windmills
10 press, press, fling
10 pushups
Stretch- 2 minutes

Takes about 10 minutes. Go directly from one exercise to the next.

Start slow, increase the reps every week or so. You can do this routine back to back to back. 4 or 5 days a week.

Then run, walk or some combination of the two. Start with 30 minutes a day and work up to more. Walk the steps in the station, walk around the block, walk home. Just walk. Everyday.

That should get you started. Start now. Throw away that Quarter- Pounder.