Good morning readers. Today I am going to discuss the importance of good health when working in the EMS field. Good health is something that is often ignored amongst many EMT’s and Paramedics. The truth is, we need to stay healthy to truly perform our jobs effectively. Regular exercise and good nutrition will ultimately equate to more energy, better concentration, more strength and will lower your risk for injuries.
For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on nutrition. Having worked in EMS for many years, mostly on night shifts, I certainly understand the difficulties in finding healthy food while working the streets. I have been guilty of late night 7-11 chili dogs, “Big Gulp” sodas and large bags of chips. It almost seemed like healthy food disappeared when the sun went down. I have since learned to tone it down on the artery clogging snacks.
Meal planning is going to be the first step to your nutrition plan. I plan on 5-6 small meals a day. This helps to kick the urge to snack. Eating 6 small meals a day also helps to maintain a faster metabolism, which translates into less fat retention. Target and other major stores offer many decent sized coolers from 20-50 dollars that would easily fit all of your meals and drinks for a shift.
Eating 6 meals a day is great, but it wont do you much good if you aren’t eating the right stuff. We all know that fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you. I could write a book on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. But the truth of the matter is, if you don’t like it, you probably aren’t going to eat it. I personally enjoy eating apples, carrots, oranges and salads. They can be filling and have a good source of natural sugars for energy. Try browsing around your local grocery store for healthy foods to eat. You might be surprised at how much is out there that you will actually enjoy eating. A good rule of thumb is to consume no more than 2,000 calories a day. You be the judge, find what you like and keep it below the 2,000 mark. Remember, you can’t go wrong with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods.
Try to avoid foods and drinks with high sugar content. While sugar is important, excess amounts will lead to less energy and more fat retention. Try drinking more water and diet sodas instead of regular sodas. Diet sodas are good, but they contain a decent amount of sodium, which wont do you any good if you consume an excess amount. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that candy and sweets can be bad, however a treat every now and then isn’t going to hurt anything.
Ever since I started to focus on healthy eating I have truly improved my job performance. I require less sleep, have more energy and I am able to concentrate better than before. Good health isn’t the only upside to a good nutrition plan. You will also save a substantial amount of money. Nutrition planning doesn’t have to be rocket science. Most people know whats healthy and whats not. Don’t try to over-complicate things. Experiment around a little and find a nutrition plan that works for you. As always, have a great week and please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments.