Whether it’s to get in better shape, improve muscle tone or just to keep their bodies healthy, people exercise for various reasons. For people who are first responders, however, exercise is a requirement. First responders include police officers, firefighters and paramedics. These individuals are the people who are first on the scene of an emergency and or accident.

However, as brave as they are, they still need to practice self-care. Being a first responder is not only stressful but physically demanding, and that’s why it’s important to stay in the best shape possible.

Here’s how to add exercise into your routine if you are a first responder.

Use Your Free Time Wisely

As a first responder, you never know when the next emergency is going to occur. One minute you’re sitting around watching the news and the next you’re speeding down the highway the next. Making the most out of free time is a must.

That isn’t to say you have to spend every second of it in the gym. You can get an efficient workout done in only 30 minutes by doing moderate exercise. You can even do this at home before going to work.

Effective Workouts

Working out just to say you worked out usually doesn’t work. In fact, most people prefer to maximize their time. There are many types of exercises that burn calories and provide cardiovascular benefits, sometimes in less than 30 minutes. In addition to using an elliptical or treadmill, you can also perform one of the following:

Jumping rope
Push ups
Sit ups
Lifting light weights

The key to working out efficiently is finding a workout you like and sticking with it. You can also alternate your workouts to keep them interesting.

Don’t Overexert Yourself

Making an exercise a little more rigorous is fine, but there’s a limit to how much you should do, especially if you’re a first responder. You don’t want to accidentally overexert yourself.

Overexertion can cause fatigue, muscle strain and even rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which the muscles start to break down due to overuse.

As a first responder, you need to boost physical conditioning while balancing downtime. Make the most of your workouts by incorporating strength training and stretching into your routine. And whether you work out at home or in the gym, always make sure you give yourself off days as well.