In a perfect world, walking up and down corridors at a hospital while caring for patients would burn enough calories to help our hearts and keep our thighs, abs and butts clear of fat and taut with muscle. But alas, it does not. Add to that 12-hour shifts, family obligations and innumerable priorities and stressors on the job, and it’s a recipe for weight gain.
In fact, according to a 2014 study, healthcare workers rank among the top in obesity rates among working professionals. That’s really not good.
It’s ironic that a field where the sole purpose is focused on health and wellness has created an environment where achieving this is nearly impossible for those who work in it. Eating right can certainly help, and this is clearly within the realm of possibility while on the job. It may take organization and effort to bring in healthy food to eat, but it is certainly possible. Right?
Finding time to get in at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise along with thrice-weekly strength training is clearly another matter. Coming up with a plan that works for you is the first step. Following through is the second. And sticking with it is the third.
Answer some of these questions to help you create a plan of attack to add exercise to your weekly schedule.
- 1. What time of day are you most likely to be able to exercise for 30 minutes? For some this is when they finish their shift; others before they start. For some lucky ones, they can carve out a half hour to go for a well-paced walk through the hospital or outside.
- 2. Do you naturally resist exercise? Find the real reason why this is. Do you honestly feel it won’t work to make you healthier? Do you not enjoy it? Whatever the reason, get to the bottom of it and weigh whether that reason is more important than your health.
- 3. Does exercise bore you? Try wearing headphones or playing music on your smartphone as you bike, run, walk or do strength training. It can create an enjoyable time that you can spend just with yourself.
- 4. Are you social? Find a friend who can walk with you to help pass the time. You will start looking forward to your time moving instead of dreading it.
- 5. Are you open to strength training? Is there any way to take a few moments at work to do some quick strength training? Some examples are doing pushups against a wall, doing a few sets of squats, doing a wall-sit (back against the wall, legs positioned as if sitting in a chair) and holding it for a minute, or doing a set of 20 knee lifts while standing (better yet, do leg lifts with your legs kept straight, also called Frankensteins). Make this something you do with a coworker twice every shift. It will energize you and surely build your muscles!
- 6. How do you feel about stairs? Walking up and down flights of stairs is both a strengthening and cardio workout. Is it possible to find five minutes a few times a shift to walk up and down some stairs? Do this six times a shift and you have met your 30 minutes! Take 10 minutes three times a shift and you’re golden.
Like this posting? Share it on Facebook with your friends; who knows how many people you can help?