How to Stay Fit as a Nurse
Nurses face a lot of difficulties when trying to stay fit and healthy. What they are excellent at is keeping their patients in top shape, but when it comes to their own health, workouts, meals and work breaks often get neglected. But, if you want to be a super nurse and always be there to help your patients, you really need to start paying better attention to your own fitness and well-being. Luckily, that’s not always mission impossible, even with 12-hour shifts!
Create a Good Workout Schedule
While some people have no issues with working out on workdays, others might want to stay focused on their days off. You also need to decide whether you’re a morning or evening workout person. In many cases, early morning workouts are the healthiest and most effective, but if you’re dying to sleep in, this might be an issue for you. No matter what you decide, do your best to create a fool-proof schedule and stick to it.
Do Exercise You Enjoy
If you’re trying to lose a few pounds, cardio is your safest bet. However, if you hate running or cycling, you’ll slack at your workouts and not achieve your fitness goals. So, it’s much better to do exercises you actually enjoy. If lifting weights makes you feel powerful and stress-free, grab some quality gym gloves and hit the iron. This way, you’ll give it your all AND have fun while doing it. Any physical activity you enjoy is better for you than those sessions you dread.
Find a Gym or Studio
One of the best things you can do if you want to stick to your workouts is finding a gym or studio that’s close to your home (or work). This way, you can forget about long commutes and even grab your bike or hit the pavement instead of taking your car. You can easily pack all your nursing uniforms and go straight to work after the gym if you find a good location.
Set Realistic Goals
You already work too hard to be harsh on yourself. So, relax and set some small fitness goals you’ll achieve pretty quickly. For instance, you might want to lose 5 pounds or finish a 5k race. These goals are much more realistic than running a marathon or getting abs. Plus, all those little wins you’ll get on your fitness journey will feel so good and uplifting you’ll just want to keep on pushing!
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast might not be the most important meal after all, but you still need it if you want to stay fit. Having a healthy breakfast will prevent overeating (when you notice your uniform getting a bit tight) and give you the energy to tackle your day. Think about filling your plate with whole grain cereal with nonfat milk or making scrambled eggs on whole-grain toast. Packing a little bag of nuts and fresh fruit for snacks is also a great idea that will prevent you from reaching for chips or chocolate bars.
Some shifts will have you walking miles; but in women’s nursing scrub pants, instead of in exercise gear. Every nurse had one or two of those hard work days where you don’t even have time to grab a glass of water. However, if you do find a spare second or two, make sure to take plenty of breaks when you can grab a drink. Many people find it very refreshing and energizing to drink a bottle of water before their shift, one with their meal and one during the rest of the workday.
When you’re fit and healthy, even long and heavy shifts will be easier to push through. Plus, you’ll get to be full of energy to give to your patients and to your family when you get home from work.