Midlands Air Ambulance critical care paramedic, keen rugby player and fitness enthusiast Steve Mason shares his top tips for keeping fit outside of the gym
As part of the Midlands Air Ambulance recruitment process and induction plan, paramedics and doctors must meet certain fitness criteria. It is not always possible for the pilots to safely land the air ambulance helicopters at the side of an incident scene, which means the clinicians may need to run with heavy, yet vitally important, kit bags and equipment to the patient, and carry them back to the aircraft.
A healthy lifestyle and physical fitness has been engrained in me from a very early age and I have always tried to keep myself active, but due to a busy work life and young family commitments finding time is extremely difficult.
An important starting point is planning what physical activities you can do. I plan what I am going to do a month at a time, which helps me achieve my goals. I also alternate my workouts every eight weeks to ensure self-motivation is maintained and to stop my body getting used to a particular workout routine.
PLAN IT RIGHT
Before starting my shift at an air base, I try and go in early to conduct a pre-planned workout.
Here’s an example workout:
Dynamic warm up
Before any workout is performed it is essential that the body and mind are suitably prepared. This starts with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up which will increase your heart rate, improving blood flow and suppleness to skeletal muscles.
Run with alternating interval sessions
After the warm-up, undertake an interval run. For example, increase your running speed for 30 seconds then jog for two minutes. Alternatively, pick a point in the distance, such as a lamppost, then increase your speed to that point. Alternating between time and distance helps you gains maximum fitness benefit.
Exercises during the interval session
• Squat jumps
• Power lunges
• Ski jumps
• Skater jumps
• Press ups
Cool down stretches
• Lower back