Boost Your EMS Fitness With 5 Simple Tips To Get More Exercise

EMS Fitness, exercise on duty

Why Is EMS Fitness So Important?

Why is EMS Fitness so important? Why is everyone talking about EMT Fitness, Paramedic Fitness and the importance of exercise?

The answer is simple.

In EMS, we are relied upon to provide a service to our communities, and this often involves lifting and moving our patients. In order to maintain a state of job-readiness, exercise is an important aspect of the EMT or Paramedic’s lifestyle.

EMS Fitness is important to help us be job ready, this image shows 2 EMTs carrying the heavy equipment and preparing to lift and move a patient. This shows the importance of EMS Fitness

5 Simple Tips To Boost Your EMS Fitness

Finding enough exercise during the day can be difficult in many professions, and EMS is no exception. The nature of our work involves us spending, at times, hours of our shift in a seated position.

The good news is that there are plenty of exercises you can do during your down time that help keep you active.

In this article, we’ll talk about 5 simple strategies/tools for incorporating exercise into your shift. Before we go into it, it’s important to state that this article is written for informational purposes only, and is not professional advice or recommendation. You should check with your doctor or accredited health/exercise professional before commencing or changing an exercise routine.


This image shows how walking can help boost EMS Fitness. Walking is a simple exercise to help with EMT Fitness and Paramedic Fitness

Walking is a great way to keep fit. Although it seems like a common sense suggestion, many people in EMS don’t consider it an option for exercise while on shift. For some, this is a justified concern with running back-to-back calls for the entirety of your shift.

Some of us, though, don’t run back-to-back calls and enjoy the odd break in-between calls. It may come as a surprise that you don’t have to spend those brief breaks at the station sitting in an armchair. You can get up, walk around. Even pacing in the station can help you to stay active and fit. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you could even walk laps around the building itself.

Consider buying a pedometer to help you keep track of your walking goals!

Resistance Bands

Exercise Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are a cheap and easy way of building up strength and muscle capability while on shift. They are extremely portable and can be stuffed into a backpack to take with you on shift.

You can use these bands to replicate many popular exercises, from a leg-press to bicep curls.

You can find a great set of resistance bands here!

Compact Cycling

Exercise Bike Compact

A compact cycling machine can be used while you’re in a seated position, which makes it great for those who find themselves often sitting in the station armchairs.

They are however bulky and aren’t as cheap as other alternatives, but if those drawbacks don’t concern you, then they might be a good fit to help you get a variety of exercise while on shift.

Dumbbells and Weight Exercise

A set of dumbbells don’t cost too much, and are easy enough to take with you on shift while also providing you a good way of getting strength-based exercise into your routine. While this method won’t suit everyone, there are a range of exercises you can do with dumbbells, even while enjoying the armchair.

Exercise with Weighted Vests

Exercise Weighted Vest

Weighted vests can be a good option of improving your strength. The challenge is finding one that hits the trifecta of being affordable, comfortable and discreet. Some providers have already found their ideal vest with EMS personnel rapidly opting to wear ballistic vests while on duty.

The main benefit to weighted vests is that you can get the benefit of a workout without needing to dedicate time solely to exercise.

You can find some good weighted vests here.

Is Paramedic Fitness really important?

Let’s face it, we all know the joke about ALS vs BLS. (Ain’t Lifting Shit vs Basic Lifting Service).

While some Paramedics may have the view that only EMT Fitness is important, as ALS providers are not there to do the manual labour, this philosophy is completely incorrect.

Not only is Paramedic Fitness important for your own health, it’s also important to help your colleagues. Being ALS does not excuse you from the basic lift-assist jobs. Paramedics should maintain a constant state of physical readiness for the job at hand, and be willing to help the EMTs with all manual handling and patient movement activities.

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