Holsworth Research Initiative

Our research focusses on exercise, physical activity and rehabilitation.

Research News

Workplace exercise programs for rural paramedics

Dr Jayden Hunter is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and lecturer in Clinical Exercise Physiology, at the La Trobe Rural Health School in Bendigo. His research focuses on exercise strategies in occupational settings. When he’s not training for triathlons, Jayden enjoys gardening and travelling – the latter of which is proving to be rather difficult in the current situation! Twitter handle: @JaydenHunter14

NSW Ambulance workplace fitness

Being a paramedic is a tough job. Paramedics are among the most frequently injured health professionals in Australia. The job can be even tougher in rural and remote areas.

NSW Ambulance wanted to help their rural teams. They ran a pilot workplace exercise program for six months across Western NSW between 2017 and 2018. They wanted the program to provide guidance on the best ways to improve their paramedics’ work-related fitness and reduce their physical injury rates.

Tailored exercise programs reduce workplace injury

Dr Jayden Hunter and his team assessed this program and reported to the NSW Ambulance on how it had worked – some of their preliminary findings were published in the Occupational Medicine journal. They found that:

  • paramedics were not fitter than the general population, despite their physically demanding job, and
  • rural paramedics would benefit from tailored workplace exercise programs to build their muscular strength.

This was the first study globally to investigate how a dedicated health coach can support a workplace exercise program for paramedics.

Global Challenge of Inactivity

This research fits with the Holsworth Research Initiative aim to:

address the global challenges of inactivity and chronic disease

Dr Hunter has received funding from the Holsworth Research Initiative in the La Trobe School of Rural Health so he can analyze the data from the six-month program.

He will use the funds to analyse data for a journal article to contribute to the growing body of knowledge around ways individually tailored workplace exercise programs can benefit paramedics in rural and regional areas.

He will share the results of their research with other organisations interested in using workplace exercise programs to benefit their workforce.

We look forward to providing updates on the team’s findings.