March 2024

The Quintessential Backcountry Expedition Road Trip Playlist

By Stephen Mullaney March 15, 2024

NCOAE Recommends

You’ve probably passed us on the highway. We’re the weirdos with heads bobbing, playing air guitar and dashboard keyboard, shouting lyrics at the windshield, grinning from ear to ear on our way to the places that make us happy — the backcountry places where people go to play, challenge themselves, and connect with wilderness .

Once while sitting at a dead stop in a traffic jam, a woman hand-crank motioned me to roll down my window. She leaned out her window asked what I was listening to that made me ignore our current, static lack of movement.

Smiling guys sitting in the back of a van playing guitar on a road trip

Jack Drag! That was my shouted response over the Indie Pop music blaring from my speakers.

Music moves us, literally and figuratively; it becomes the soundtrack of our lives that most of us only realize when we look back decades later.

Working in the outdoor education sector of the outdoor industry means traveling. Sometimes you find yourself on a desert highway, traveling alone to meet your group, gas pedal depressed deep into the car’s carpet, speakers distorting because they can’t handle the volume. You stare out the window into the beautiful brown and green landscape, listening to your favorite band as the lead singer’s voice cracks through the air like a peal of thunder. And then you smile, knowing that at the end of the road you’ll be taking people into (more…)

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EMT Health and Fitness: How to Stay Physically Strong and Mentally Sharp

By David Bullard March 6, 2024

Emergency Medicine

It’s been my experience that emergency medical personnel — including Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) — tend to be much better at caring for others than for themselves. That’s generally the result of long shifts, life-or-death situations, and consistently helping people who are suffering the worst day of their lives. It’s going to take a toll. 

To compound the problem, those who work in emergency medicine often neglect their own health and fitness. They forgo exercise, reach for junk food because it’s often handier. Or they begin to seek out various substances to get through the day. These might include energy drinks during their shift so they can remain alert. Or maybe a drink or three when they’re off the clock to calm their nerves and help them sleep. 

Eventually, this unhealthy lifestyle catches up to them, negatively impacting their mood, energy, intimacy, and more.

Man in emergency medicine training checking for heartbeat withs stethoscope at NCOAE course

The multi-billion dollar a year health and fitness industry offers little in the way of relief for those in our field. And often overlooked is the overworked and stressed-out Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) shift worker.

If you’re a member of that demographic or you’re considering an EMT training and certification program like our Standard EMT, Hybrid EMT, or Wilderness EMT, don’t wait around in the hopes of that industry or even your own EMS unit will be reaching out to you. Make this your wake-up call. Now is the time to start focusing on your own health and fitness. 

Remember the lesson you’re taught when you board an airplane — put your oxygen mask on first before helping anyone seated next to you with theirs. In the same way, you need to focus on your own health first in order to be healthy and fit enough to assist others when they’re experiencing a medical emergency. And continue that health regimen so you are healthy enough to make a lasting career in emergency medicine.

In this post, I provide practical advice on how to restore and maintain your own physical and mental health and fitness over the long haul.

Manage Stress

Stress kills. We are all well aware of its negative impact on health, but what we need to realize is that a great deal of our stress is self-inflicted. After all, we’re the only ones who can (more…)

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