doctor and nurse exploring x-rayMaintaining stability, balance, flexibility and strength is especially important when others depend on you for life and safety. Stay on your toes with easy exercises that keep you healthy and help you protect others from danger.

Don’t skip the jump rope

Jumping rope is a terrific way to burn calories, build your calves, shoulders, hamstrings, abs and quads. Rope jumping also boosts coordination. You will need strength and coordination to operate and move heavy equipment and possibly even people. The humble rope can provide a total body workout that increases vigor and stamina. When there is an emergency at hand you are guaranteed to need both.

Stay agile with double line hops

This plyometric exercise helps you build speed and power. You can also improve your reflexes. Here’s what to do for a double line hop: use a rope or pole to create two straight lines on the floor. They should be parallel and about two feet apart. Stand to the left of the left line on your left foot. Push off with your left leg and hop across the gap to the outside of the right line, landing on your right foot. Continue back and forth for ten jumps.

Incorporate an agility ladder

The agility you develop can help you respond quickly to a variety of physical demands by improving core strength, speed and foot movement patterns. Building reactive strength is important for first responders and the agility ladder is a fun way to do it. The agility ladder is also good tool for improving hip mobility and reducing injury. There are a number of exercises you can do with the agility ladder including the lateral shuffle and multidirectional drill. Build up to more advanced exercise with some foundation work. For example, start with both feet at the first ladder box. Using alternate feet, march or jump with your knees high between the boxes.

Run for your life

There is a reason fire fighters, military personnel and police officers have to run for the physical qualification test.  When there is an emergency at hand, time is of the essence. You may need to speed quickly to the scene with only your feet to carry you there. Running helps you maintain overall physical fitness, aerobic capacity and the speed you will need to catch the bad guy or save the day.

Play ball

A good game of tennis may sound like just fun but there are benefits that translate to more effective performance for first responders. Tennis hones body rotation, aerobic capacity and hand-eye coordination. Running and hitting the ball is also a good way to develop stronger biceps, triceps and quads.

If you work as a first responder or another emergency helping profession your most important piece of work equipment is your body. You will use your body as the first line of defense against danger and for the protection of others.