Emergency Medical Service providers are an integral part of the healthcare industry. The job, like most jobs in the industry, often requires an act of selflessness. In order to provide premium services to others, it is highly important to keep a healthy lifestyle. In some instances, EMS providers are highly vulnerable to injuries in the field. While this cannot be avoided, staying fit is imperative for EMS workers.
Here are some of the most common physical issues EMS workers face and how to prevent them.

Why Should EMS Providers Pay Attention to Their Physical Health?

Unlike other jobs in the field of medicine, emergency services is the combination of theory and fieldwork. Workers are being deployed to various locations, and are faced with many obstacles.
Emergency Services is a field in healthcare services that is highly unpredictable. In the field, strenuous activities are almost always done. EMS workers service clients with varying physiques. It will be extremely hard for an unfit EMS provider to service an obese patient. Doing so often lead to injuries in the lower back.
Despite the glaring problem, there is still an overall lack of resources and knowledge in order to overcome the hurdles that EMS providers face. Apart from this, working on the dot usually prevents workers from allotting time to maintain a fitness routine. This is especially true for volunteers still working in full-time jobs apart from their work in EMS.
Only recently have fitness standards become integrated into EMS training and recertification. Your program may or may not require fitness testing. Those that test fitness generally look for cardiovascular fitness, physical strength, and flexibility.

Problems That EMS Workers Face

Back Problems

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians or (NAEMT) points out that workers are highly prone to lower back injuries when carrying patients. The organization has also cited that half of the EMS populace suffers from severe back pain. The condition is also one of the reasons why a practitioner permanently leaves his post.

High Absence Probability

EMS practitioners subject themselves to strenuous activities on a daily basis. Because of this, the worker is highly susceptible to injuries, thus a large probability of absences. Missed work can mean less physical conditioning.

Career-Ending Injury

The NAEMT also notes that one out of four practitioners is likely to suffer a career-ending injury within their first four years alone. For a long career, take care of your body.

Physical Activities for EMS Workers

So what type of exercise should you do? The website Livestrong recommends alternating between cardio and strength training, focused on the chest, abdomen, shoulders, arms, back and legs. They also recommend yoga for muscle tone and flexibility.
The exercises below, from the Journal of Emergency Medicine, strengthen the lower back and help improve the performance of an EMS worker.

Good Mornings

Step 1: Set up a bar on a rack. Assure that the bar will accommodate your height and weight.
Step 2: Go under the bar. Place the back of your shoulders, the one slightly below the neck, across the bar.
Step 3: Hold on to the bar with both arms at each side. Lift it off the rack with your legs while straightening your torso.
Step 4: Step away from the rack. Position your legs in a shoulder width stance.
Step 5: Maintain a straight posture.
Step 6: Bend at the hips to lower your torso forward. Do this until you are parallel with the floor.
Step 7: Elevate your torso to go back to your starting position. Repeat the exercise for a few rounds.


Step 1: Lie on the floor with your face down on a hyperextension bench.
Step 2: Lay your upper thighs flat across the wide pad. Be sure to leave enough room for you to bend your waist.
Step 3: Cross your arms in front of your chest or place them behind your head.
Step 4: Start bending forward slowly at the waist. Test your limits to as far as you can go with your back laying flat.
Step 5: Move forward without rounding your back until you feel your hamstrings stretch.
Step 6: Bend at the hips to lower your torso forward. Do this until you are parallel with the floor.
Step 7: Slowly, raise your torso and return to the initial position without arching your back.
Step 8: Perform 4 sets of 15-20 reps.

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