Purpose: Serious musculoskeletal injury rates for Australian paramedics are up to seven times higher than the national occupational average, resulting in significant associated costs and extended time off work. Work conditioning programs have been recommended to improve fitness but not evaluated in Australian paramedics. This study investigated the effectiveness of a 6-month workplace exercise program (MedicFit; MF) to improve paramedic fitness with or without health coach (HC) support. Methods: A group of regional Australian paramedics (n=76; 43 male; mean±SD 36.5±9.1 years; BMI 28.0±5.4 kg/m2) were randomised to either exercise with remote health coach support (MFHC; N=30), exercise without health coach support (MF; N=23), or no-exercise control (CON; N=23) groups. MFHC and MF participants received a 6-month, low-moderate intensity resistance and flexibility exercise program to be performed on station without direct supervision. Changes to upper-body (push-ups), lower-body (wall squat) and core (plank hold) strength and flexibility (back scratch and sit-reach tests) were analysed using repeated measures ANOVA. Results: Mean changes to upper-body (+20.6%; p<0.01; ηp2=0.34), lower-body (+40.8%; p<0.05; ηp2=0.08) and core (+1.4%; p=0.17; ηp2=0.03) strength were similar between groups, as were changes to upper-body (+19.5%; p=0.56) and lower-body (+3.3%; p=0.15) flexibility, with no interaction or group effects observed. Conclusion: Providing a 6-month workplace exercise program with or without HC support did not confer any greater strength or flexibility benefits than exercise testing alone (CON). Although exercise adherence was not measured, it is possible that participants require additional methods of support such as face-to-face exercise instruction and guidance, and individually-tailored exercise programs.
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2019|
|Event||Ninth International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society - University of California, Berkeley, United States|
Duration: 19 Sep 2019 → 20 Sep 2019
|Conference||Ninth International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society|
|Period||19/09/19 → 20/09/19|
Hunter, J., MacQuarrie, A., Sheridan, S., High, R., & Waite, C. (2019). Physical conditioning for Australian paramedics: A six-month workplace exercise RCT. Abstract from Ninth International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society, Berkeley, United States.