As a lifeguard, your job is critical: You are the first responder to an emergency, and your ability to get there fast and stay composed can make the difference in saving lives. However, the human body is a complex instrument. There are many muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and other parts of our anatomy that kick into action when you have to run, swim, or are saving a life in the pool. As a lifeguard, knowing what muscles are working when running, swimming, or saving a life will help you train them as to be prepared as possible and do your job exceptionally.
When running, the most important muscle in use is the heart. The heart brings in oxygen and turns it into energy. This is aerobic capacity. The stronger the heart, the more blood it can pump in fewer pumps, and the more quickly oxygen can get to the body. The best indicator of a strong heart is your resting heart rate, which is best taken first thing when you wake up. The lower this number, the stronger the heart.
Quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, and glutes are other major muscles used when running. These muscles make up the front and back of your legs, your buttocks, and back of your lower leg. These muscles act in coordination to push and pull your body forward as you run. Stretch these muscles to avoid injury and to do strength-training exercises to keep them strong.
The last major muscle used in running is the Iliotibial (IT) band. This is a group of tough fibers positioned outside the thigh. This acts as an important stabilizer during running. It also helps support the extension of the knee while running.
Running involves the whole body. When you run, you will swing your arms to help improve speed, your abdomen and lower back will help you stay erect, and your chest and back will help keep your posture. These are important muscles to strengthen and stretch regularly.
The two most important muscles used in swimming are the heart and lungs. The heart serves the same function as it does during running, providing oxygen rich air to the body. The lungs bring in the oxygen and places it in the blood stream for the heart to pump. The stronger these muscles, the higher of performance a swimmer can give. Also, your lungs help you hold your breath while you swim.
Outside of the heart and lungs, the body uses 24 muscles while swimming. There are too many to mention here, and each swimming stroke uses muscles differently and uses different muscles. Swimming uses your hands, biceps, quadriceps, hamstring, calves, neck, back, shoulder, and chest. This is because, when you swim, you are pulling, twisting, kicking, and doing other movement that involves the use of many muscles.
Saving Lives in The Water
When you are in the water saving a life, you are using many muscles. Your heart and lungs are critical. The more conditioned they are, the less likely you are to tire before reaching safety. In addition, you are using most major muscle groups, such as your legs, arms, chest and back, neck, and core. This is because you have to tread water, while keeping the victim stable by holding them up with your arms, which uses your biceps, triceps, neck, pectorals or chest, and back. In addition, as you move, you are using your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves on your legs to help you move through the water. Last, your abdomen and lower back are working overtime to keep your body stable and strong as you twist, turn, and pull your victim to safety.
Knowing you are using so many muscle groups when running, swimming, or saving a life is critical. You can take this information and train appropriately to have a strong heart, lungs, and rest of the muscles used. Plus, you can train all the muscles involved to respond quickly and last longer during a rescue. This will give you the speed and stamina to make every second count in saving a life.╚
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