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Abstract

Abstract

Objectives: The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the physical characteristics of a group of West Australian male paramedics. Methods: Data was collected from conventional (CO) (n=18) and special operations (SO) (n=11) officers undergoing occupational performance evaluations as contracted by St. John Ambulance Australia to an external independent third party. Using a series of field-based physical conditioning tests, aerobic capacity (multistage shuttle run test), body composition (skinfolds), flexibility (sit-and-reach test), muscular strength (5 stage abdominal and grip strength), muscular endurance (sit-ups, push-ups and chin-ups in 60 seconds (s)), power (vertical jump height), and anaerobic capacity/agility using the Bangsbo agility test were examined. Results: The average predicted aerobic capacity of all officers was 45.8±5.2 ml•kg•min-1 (mean ± SD). Mean rating of abdominal strength was 4±1 and mean grip strength was 52±9 kg. The maximum number of sit-ups, push-ups and chin-ups performed in 60 s was 21±11, 40±12 and 7±5, respectively. Significantly more push-ups were completed for SO than for CO. Percentage body fat was significantly lower for SO than for CO. Fatigue index score (Bangsbo test) were significantly lower for SO than for CO. Conclusions: The physical fitness profile of our sample indicated above normal levels of aerobic capacity, local muscle endurance and muscle strength, which likely contributes to workplace performance competency. However the fitness profile highlighted a potential deficiency in anaerobic capacity. Paramedics may benefit from a physical conditioning program with emphasis on their ability to operate at a greater functional capacity for higher repeated near maximal efforts.

Author Biography

Dale is one of three Senior Postgraduate Research Scientists within the Human Performance Testing Centre of Edith Cowan University and a Sports Science Doctoral Candidate. He holds a CSCS accreditation and is currently the strength and conditioning coach for the senior female and male teams of the Hale Hockey Club. Research interests include physiological testing of athletic and occupational specific populations, exercise induced muscle damage, the influence of training on postural control in different clinical and athletic populations and muscle atrophy post joint trauma.

Jeremiah is one of three Senior Postgraduate Research Scientists within the Human Performance Testing Centre of Edith Cowan University and a Sports Science Doctoral Candidate. He is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, where he earned a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology focusing his research on cycling, specifically interval training. Since arriving at Edith Cowan University, Jeremiah's interests have shifted to thermoregulation with his research now aimed at determining the effects of cold water immersion on recovery from exercise in the heat. Future research aims include examining thermoregulation in a variety of competitive and industrial situations.

Chris is one of three Senior Postgraduate Research Scientists within the Human Performance Testing Centre of Edith Cowan University and a Sports Science Doctoral Candidate. Chris' previous research was aimed at understanding factors influencing fatigue during prolonged endurance cycling and his current research focus is on understanding the physiological factors that may influence the regulation of self-selected exercise intensity during endurance cycling with the hope of better understanding methods to improve exercise performance.

Associate Professor Paul Laursen teaches various courses within the School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences at Edith Cowan University, is the Postgraduate Coordinator for the Sports Science Division and a Senior Research Scientist within the Human Performance Testing Centre. His research interests centre on understanding high-intensity exercise training, thermoregulation, hydration and recovery kinetics, as well as mechanisms of fatigue during prolonged endurance exercise. He has published over 40 refereed manuscripts, is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport and holds specialist accreditations in Exercise Physiology and Sports Physiology from the Australian Association for Exercise & Sports Science.

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