Sneaking in an exercise routine while working as a nurse is a complicated feat to achieve. The nursing profession is a mentally and physically demanding one. Because of the job’s nature, nurses who don’t exercise regularly can find themselves in a dangerously unhealthy state.
Nurses’ duties include assisting them with walking and helping them through physical therapy now and then. It can be highly straining for them physically. In fact, according to a Harvard study on nurse health, around half of the participants only exercised for two hours per week because of rotating shifts and long working hours.
While finding some free time as a nurse can be an uphill challenge, you must make time to work on your fitness. You might be on your feet the entire day. However, changing hospital schedules might lead to you not getting enough exercise. Fortunately, it is an easy task to add physical activity to the mix. Plus, you don’t have to go to the gym if you want to sneak exercise into your routine while working as a nurse. Let us take a look at how you can achieve this.
Maximize your travel to work
An easy way to include exercise into your daily routine is by adding it into your daily commute. Is your workplace near your home? If so, instead of taking your car out, ride your bicycle to work. If you insist on taking your car, park it as far away as possible from your workplace so you can travel on foot for a longer distance. Do you prefer public transportation? Skip the stop that is closest to your workplace and walk the final few kilometers. If this is not intense enough for you, pick up the pace and walk faster.
If you are studying and working, go online
It is already hard enough to work long, tiring shifts as a nurse, and if you add higher education to the mix, things will get more complex. When taking such an approach, you would even think about getting some physical activity. However, instead of forgetting about working out altogether, there is a way that you can work, study, and exercise without straining yourself physically and mentally.
Instead of enrolling in a coma-based university, apply for online degrees and programs. You can consider doing a master’s or a post master’s certificate online to eliminate traveling for education purposes. You can then use the saved time to exercise at home instead. Plus, removing some physical stress from your daily routine will give you enough energy to complete a home-based fitness routine without overworking your body.
Increase the pace of your mundane activities
According to the CDC, increasing your heart rate reduces your risk of developing cancers, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Also, it enables you to strengthen your bones and muscles, reduce weight, and improve your overall mood. Challenge yourself by increasing the intensity at which you perform your daily work-related activities in the healthcare facility.
For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. It works your heart as well gives you a fat-burning lower body workout. Try to be safe when taking the stairs, though, as a higher intensity can sometimes lead to accidents. If this is still not intense enough for you, instead of taking a single step, take two steps at a time. When performing daily activities at a higher intensity, you should hold a conversation without taking deep breaths.
Help yourself by helping your patients
Countless studies show that nurses are the most trustworthy healthcare professionals because of their high ethical standards and honesty. Nurses lead by example. They are physically active and are more likely to encourage their patients and their family members to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle.
As a nurse, you can challenge other nurses by including internal competition. It could either be something like holding a contest with another nurse where the winner will be the nurse who helps and helps the most patients walk every day. Or the nurse with the most steps recorded on a fitness app at the end of the shift. It will ultimately help their patients while allowing the nurses to incorporate a workout as they do so.
Utilize fitness aids
You should jump on the ‘always working out band wagon’ just like thousands of other professionals and utilize fitness aids to push you to stay physically active at all times. Minor activities such as keeping a resistance band inside your lab coat or doing bicep curls while you’re on the phone leave a massive impact on your health in the long haul.
For example, nothing beats squeezing in a quick workout during break hours. Or, consider swapping out your desk and chair for an exercise ball. Trying to balance yourself while you sit on an exercise ball works your core muscles, hips, and legs. Just ensure that the ball you use has an anti-burst rating of five hundred kilograms.
Furthermore, consider investing in a fitness wearable, such as a smartwatch, pedometer, or better yet, use the built-in fitness tracker on your mobile phone.
The nature of your profession can be highly draining on your mental and physical health. That is why you need to ensure that you are honest with your workouts. Perform these physical activities at a pace you can manage. Sometimes doing too much can lead to unwanted injuries, which can put you on the shelf for a few months. Utilize your time more effectively and squeeze in as much exercise as smartly as possible regularly.