A lifeguard’s duty is demanding, requiring them to be active for most of the day and typically under hot conditions while always being ready to spring into action should others need help. And while one may think that all the hard work is over upon receiving your lifeguard licence, being qualified for this role requires more commitment and discipline moving forward. Apart from the qualities that a competent lifeguard should ideally possess, they also have to be fit for duty to be effective in their job – here are some tips to help you remain in tip-top shape!
1. Keep swimming
Since a lifeguard’s most important duty is to save those in distress in the water, they must always be conditioned to swim quickly to their aid. Thankfully, free access to the pool or beach is one of the perks of the job, so train regularly and consider trying out a combination of swimming styles to stay fit.
For instance, in sprint training, your goal is to swim as fast as possible to improve your swimming speed and technique so you can move more quickly when there’s an emergency in the water. In contrast, endurance training focuses more on your breathing and overall technique so you can last longer when swimming. Consider doing these swimming exercises before or after your shift and setting a bit of time during your free days to work on your swim training.
2. Practice extrication drills
Extrication includes the steps or actions involved in recovering a casualty in the water, making it one of the most critical exercises because of its potential to save lives. That said, extrication exercises generally require more than one lifeguard, so try inviting your coworkers to join you. Doing these exercises also has the added benefit of improving your teamwork with them.
Extrication drills involve using equipment like rescue boards and tubes to get lifeguards familiar with and adept at using such equipment in times of emergency. One lifeguard plays the role of a person who needs help, while the others practise quickly coming to their aid and towing them to safety. When doing these drills, record your time for each attempt and note your areas for improvement.
3. Do rowing exercises
If your lifeguard duties take place in a natural body of water, be it the ocean or a lake, rowing is a vital skill you need to develop since there is a chance you’ll need a speedier means to conduct a rescue. Rowing is a demanding cardio exercise that increases upper-body strength and improves your fitness. Doing rowing exercises can be done with or without a rowboat; if you cannot do the drills with the real deal, there’s always the rowing machine at your local gym.
4. Don’t neglect muscle-training
Lifeguards can condition their bodies for the job in many other ways besides rowing and swimming. For instance, compound exercises are an excellent way to stay fit as they work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Some examples are the simple plank and tower stretches; the former targets your core, arm, and leg muscles, while the latter works your rotator cuffs, triceps, and deltoids.
Running improves your lung capacity and breath control and helps you move fast through shallow water, which is essential if you ever find yourself working in places like the beach. Thus, include running in shallow water and on the sand in your exercise regimen to condition your leg muscles for such situations. If that is not feasible for you, you can try running on land while wearing ankle weights to simulate the feeling of the water weighing you down.
Being a lifeguard requires being physically fit to fulfil your duties. As such, it is crucial to put the time and effort into the core exercises above to help you respond quickly when disaster strikes.
As a premier aquatic hub, Swimwerks offers a one-stop solution for all your aquatic needs, from swimming programmes for kids to aquatic events management. In addition, we also provide lifesaving courses and swimming teacher courses in Singapore so you can become a certified swim coach or lifeguard yourself. To learn more details about what we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us today!