By Arthur Hsieh

Before you decide to study for and take the EMT exam, you should decide if you are fit for the job. Lifting and moving patients can be difficult. Unconscious patients are literally dead weight that is difficult to control. Injured patients may need to be immobilized to a long backboard and carried down several flights of stairs.

Many EMS patients are obese. Even the equipment bags can be heavy. You need to be physically fit and strong enough to avoid seriously injuring yourself or your partner. You also need to be smart enough to call for additional resources when you’re unable to perform a lift without assistance.

If you drive around in an ambulance all day, finding ways to exercise, stretch your muscles, and maintain your back strength is challenging. It’s even more difficult to eat right and avoid the fats and salts so common in fast food.

You need to develop discipline to exercise and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Smoking is a no-no, as is excessive alcohol consumption. Exercises that help you to strengthen the back, abdominal, and leg muscles are easy to do and don’t require expensive training equipment.

Chances are there will be someone at your future EMS workplace who can provide tips and guidance on a realistic workout and diet routine. You can also search the Internet for articles and videos on these topics; combine and enter terms like “EMT,” “workout,” and “video” in your browser.