Awareness and First Aid

In the fast-paced world of emergency response, the role of a medic goes beyond just saving lives; it demands a lifestyle of resilience.

Ashlea Crous, an Intermediate Life Support Practitioner at ER24 South Metro branch, unveils the transformative power of regular exercise in preventing injuries and preserving the mental fortitude required for her life-saving duties.

Emergency responders navigate a landscape riddled with demanding and often distressing situations. They endure prolonged hours responding to car accidents and other emergencies, frequently encounter violence, and handle physically taxing rescue operations. The toll, both physical and mental, accumulates over time, and they need proactive measures to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing.

“I have been going to the gym regularly for a few years now, focusing on weight training,” says Crous. “I can honestly say that it has helped me tremendously with this job.”

The Unseen Challenges of Medic Life

Medics are required to be physically agile and strong. The job demands rapid responses and high-intensity efforts during emergencies, including lifting heavy equipment and patients, and the cumulative physical strain can lead to injuries and long-term health implications.

“We lift heavy things all day, either our equipment or patients,” says Crous. “When we hurt ourselves, it places extra strain on an already demanding day.” She adds that she often sees colleagues using the incorrect lifting techniques for heavy patients. “They use their backs when they should be squatting and using their legs,” she explains. “Learning how to squat and lift with proper form, holding your core tight when lifting, can save you a lot of pain and discomfort in future.”

A Lifeline in the Gym

Beyond the clinical aspects of their job, medics bear witness to human suffering in its rawest form. Car accidents, violence, and critical injuries are part of their daily reality. The emotional weight of encountering distressing scenes takes a toll on mental health, often in ways that are not immediately apparent.

“We do see some terrible things in this line of work,” says Crous. “After a bad shift, going to the gym and tuning out the world has saved me a lot of lasting stress.”

Heavy workloads, long hours, and split-second decisions that can have life-altering consequences: a paramedic’s working life is complex. To manage that, Crous leans on the mind and body benefits she finds in the gym. “To guide me, I use a fitness training app where a virtual coach provides workouts and eating plans. All workouts come with step-by-step videos that help prevent injuries.”

For Crous, exercise is not just a routine but a lifeline for someone who dedicates her life to saving others.