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Physical capacity of New South Wales ambulance paramedics

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journal contribution
posted on 08.01.2021, 04:30 by Jayden Hunter, AJ Macquarrie, SC Sheridan
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Occupational Medicine.

Background: Paramedics are among the most frequently injured health professionals in Australia. A lack of physical capacity may contribute to injury risk in this occupational population. Aims: This study sought to describe and compare the physical fitness of male and female paramedics across age groups to ascertain differences in physical capacity. Methods: A group of regional Australian paramedics (n = 140; 78 males; mean ± SD 37.4 ± 9.9 years; body mass index 28.1 ± 4.9 kg/m2) underwent a fitness assessment. Measures included upper, lower and core-body muscular strength and flexibility. Outcomes were compared between genders and across age groups using two-way between-groups analysis of variance. Results: Male paramedics had greater upper body strength (P < 0.05; push-ups) mean (95% CI): 22.6 (19.4-25.9) versus 18.7 (15.2-22.3); similar lower body strength (single-leg wall squat): 39.0 (32.6-45.3) s versus 36.7 (27.1-46.3) s; greater core strength (P < 0.05; prone plank hold): 87.9 (77.6-98.3) s versus 73.8 (63.7-83.8) s; similar upper body flexibility (back scratch): -4.0 (-6.7 to -1.3) cm versus -0.3 (-2.2 to 1.7) cm; and similar lower body flexibility (sit and reach): 20.4 (18.2-22.6) cm versus 26.1 (23.5-28.7) cm to female paramedics. Core, upper and lower body strength all decreased with age (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Core, upper and lower body strength and upper body flexibility were poorer for older compared to younger regional paramedics in New South Wales, Australia. Future research should investigate whether these outcomes are associated with occupational injury risk. This information would assist in the design of injury prevention interventions for paramedics such as tailored workplace exercise programs.

History

Publication Date

01/01/2019

Journal

Occupational Medicine

Volume

69

Issue

8-9

Pagination

7p.

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)

ISSN

0962-7480

Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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