Tips for Nurses Trying to Find Time for Fitness at Work

Healthcare workers constantly find themselves over-scheduled and over-extended leaving them little time for all important physical fitness activity. 

Healthcare workers constantly find themselves over-scheduled and over-extended leaving them little time for all important physical fitness activity.  One thing health and wellness experts can agree on is that some physical activity is better than none at all.  Here are some easy ways to squeeze fitness into your busy daily routine.

Schedule fitness into your day.  That fancy smartphone that you are carrying around with you has a great calendar function allowing you to schedule 5 to 10-minute “fitness meetings” throughout your day.  No matter what your day throws at you, the calendar will sound an alert when it is time to stop and take a few minutes for exercise.

Try Using a Fitness App.  There are so many fitness apps on the market it can be hard to find one that is right for you.  Many of us are wearing FitBit tracking devices and using the accompanying app to help monitor activity and calorie intake.  If I were to recommend an app that every busy person should try, it would be the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute WorkoutThis free app is available for Android and iOS, and it is specifically designed to help you fit exercise into your day with an appropriate intensity level for your fitness level. All you have to do is head to the break room and grab a chair, the app will coach you through a workout including jumping jacks, side planks, tricep dips, wall pushups and more.

Become a Stair Master. How many times a day do you head up or down a floor at the hospital to meet with someone or grab supplies?  The number is probably in the double digits.  Now, think about how many times you have taken the elevator for those short trips. On your next shift, use the stairs for as many of those short trips as possible, and you will begin feeling extra energy and see results in no time at all.

Don’t waste wait time.  If you have decided that the stairs are not an option for you and you are continuing to use the elevator, don’t stress about it.  Instead, put the time spent waiting for the elevator to arrive to good use.  Stand with your feet parallel, and your knees relaxed.  While elevating your upper torso, contract the muscles around your belly button. Hold for a second and release. Next, do the same while contracting your buttocks, both moves will strengthen your core. Another option is to stand with your right side about two feet from a wall, place your right forearm on the wall while keeping your body straight. Next, bring your left leg slightly in front of your right foot and lift it out to the side.  Pause and return it to the starting position. Do as many reps as you can until the elevator arrives. On your next trip, reverse sides and exercise the opposite leg.

Turn the nurse’s station into a mini-gym.  For this fitness hack, you will have to get approval from the charge nurse, but you can back up the request with data. Research has shown that exercise at work boosts productivity and the nurse's station is the perfect place to use a Stability Ball and some lightweight dumbbells.  Anytime you are at the station waiting for results, orders, or any other reason, a quick set of arm curls or shoulder presses with light dumbbells can make a difference. Also, whenever you are sitting at the computer, using the stability ball strengthens your core and improves spinal support.

Share your fitness at work techniques in the comment section below.  Or join the discussion on our Facebook page, we would love to hear from you.

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