On-duty EMS fitness: The "Big 6" stretches

For a long and healthy career in EMS, start each shift with your gear, truck, and your body in excellent working order

Injury prevention, fitness and wellness are all important aspects of a career in public safety.

Take it one step further and let's add easier lifting, transferring, moving, carrying, and transporting patients or objects in your job.

One of the key components of achieving all these goals is good flexibility throughout your body. But we are not just talking about just any old stretch when you feel like or remember to do it, we are talking about the six most important stretches to help you do your job better.

Doing these stretches will help you do your job better by giving you the abto move through a full range of motion.

Most injuries occur because you do not move normally and are forced to complete the task at hand any way you can, most likely with poor form. This leads to strain patterns in the body which load the back, knees, shoulders and neck, which ultimately causes tissue failure in the body. This tissue failure, an overexertion injury, is preventable through good mechanics, and we achieve good mechanics are through full range of motion.

The big 6 stretches are easy to do on-duty and in uniform. As the video instructs, stretch regularly throughout the day and go through all 6 stretches after checking the truck off for the day.

For a long and healthy career in EMS, start each shift with your gear, truck, and your body in excellent working order.

About the author

Bryan Fass, ATC, LAT, CSCS, EMT-P (ret.), has dedicated over a decade to changing the culture of EMS from one of pain, injury, and disease to one of ergonomic excellence and provider wellness. He has leveraged his 15-year career in sports medicine, athletic training, spine rehabilitation, strength and conditioning and as a paramedic to become an expert on prehospital patient handling/equipment handling and fire-EMS fitness. His company, Fit Responder, works nationally with departments to reduce injuries and improve fitness for first responders. Contact Bryan at bryan.fass@ems1.com

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