It is your daily fight – the fight for the lives and the health of your fellow men. But you always neglect your own health. STOP! These eight tips will help workers in the police force, the fire brigade and the rescue service to increase personal fitness and well-being in the workplace.

Trapper John (Trapper John, MD), Doug Ross (Emergency Room) or Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy). Each of these three represent a generation of TV-Series doctors. All smart, some of them handsome, all caught in their own special struggle in life – and all totally addicted to their job. So addicted that they often forget about themselves.

Did you know that you spend 80 percent of your shift sitting?

Rescue service employees spend a large part of their time at work sitting in a car, on the sofa inside the guard, in an ambulance or for even longer periods when transferring patients on long distance transports. For police officers it is nearly the same: sitting in the car or coping with deployment documentation at a desk in the station. And then suddenly in the next moment, it becomes physical, when it has to be spiked, climbed and, in the worst case, even forced with physical violence. Meanwhile somewhere else, an EMT is on his way up the stairs to the 5th floor of an apartment block, equipped with a rescue bag, ventilation unit, monitor / defibrillator and suction unit. Heaving, he has arrived at the small bathroom where the injured patient is lying on the floor. He realises that he will need major acrobatic skills to help  the endangered person. After the treatment, which he has been performing in yoga-like poses, it is time to carry the patient downstairs and get the equipment back down from the fifth floor…

Working in health services causes an unhealthy lifestyle

But anyway… It’s not always that bad.  And we all love our job (this must be the explanation). However, it contains a lot of risks for your health: Everything is fast food. And if there is not even time for that, it is replaced by sugary sodas and a cigarette. Your body is no longer in charge of your bio rhythm. This is now in the hands of the one who is creating the shift plan. And as if the physical stress is not enough, there is also the psychological stress of it all.

So this is the reason why we have collected ten ideas on how you can do more for your health in the future. Some of them you might have heard before, some will not fit to your service. Just use them as inspiration that you should do more for your own health.

1. Start your service with a warm up

Circling both arm, doing squads, a few stretching exercises … Start your shift with this ritual, not only checking the technical equipment for their functionality, but also yourself!

2. Don’t stop moving

If you are lucky enough to have a calm area and only a few missions per day, you might feel like becoming one with the sofa at the guard. But remember: time flies by when you are in action. So take a walk around the house or save money for a pinball machine that you won’t only enjoy, but that will also keep you moving.

3. Prevention

When you are on a mission, you give it your all. Although there is a lot of work for the mind to do, certain parts of your job require physical fitness as well. So train your body well and get in shape. This will prevent you from severe injuries and might save at least one life: your own!

4, Watch your Nutrtion

Don’t just vary between pizza and burgers. As you might be on the road all day long, plan your meals, prepare small units of food that can be digested easily and most importantly: drink enough water!

5. Use helpful gadgets

Don’t try to resolve every situation with your muscles. Use a wheelchair and a stretcher – don’t carry patients for long distances.

6. Get smart

Knowledge is your (second) best partner. Read newspapers and study reports so that uncertainty has no chance to irritate you during your work.

7. Relax

Sometimes there are only a few minutes before you have to head out to the next urgent incident. Try the concept of Edmung Jacobson’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): Tighten certain muscles in your body and focus on them. Hold your breath for a few seconds then exhale and release the tension in the muscle again. Each exercise takes only a few seconds and no equipment is required. Repeat up to three times and enjoy the feeling of warm and relaxed muscles afterwards. This method can also relieve you from headaches!

8. Listen to music

In the right moment. Create your own playlists for calming down or getting energized again. But don’t play AC/DC’s “Highway to hell” while on the way to the hospital with a patient on board.

9. Schedule your days

Do you forget about your exact shifts sometimes? Or does your family always know, when you are at work and when you will come home? Make it easier for yourself and your partner and make a note of your shifts on a shared calendar. This will take away a lot of pressure at home.

10. Hang on

If you try hard and make an effort to integrate some of the above points in your daily life, you will be able to keep your inner balance. Your body will become stronger und your heart will not fail. Think about a colleague you never want to turn out like. Make that person your motivation to take more care of yourself.

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