Have you ever been at work and said to yourself: " I need to exercise, but have no time or energy to do it?" A majority of nurses work long hours and tiresome shifts. Nurses are too tired or have no time for exercise. The following article gives suggestions for those nurses on exercises they can do while working and make it fun.
By Michele Bone BSN, MHS, RN
Have you ever been at work and said to yourself: “I need to exercise, but have no time or energy to do it?” A majority of nurses work long hours and tiresome shifts. Nurses are too tired or have no time for exercising.
I am a post-anesthesia care nurse who works long hours including being on call for patient care. I have a gym membership, but do not seem to find the energy or time to go to the gym. The sad thing is that the gym is only 10 minutes away from my hospital and open 24 hours a day.
I began talking to fellow nurses to see if they would be interested in an exercise program. A program they could do at work that would not interrupt their nursing duties. There was an overwhelming “yes” to my question.
As nurses, we may think the physical activity we get as we make our rounds from patient to patient is enough, but it is not. We need to add specific exercises designed to help keep us fit and decrease stress.
I consulted a fellow nurse, who is also a body builder, and personal trainer on what exercises a nurse could do while at work. In addition, I spoke with my fellow nurses to see what kind of exercises they would be interested in doing. Together, we developed a list of exercises to help decrease stress, tone the body, and assist with the cardiovascular system.
The following is a list of exercises starting from the top of the body:
1. Neck and shoulder rolls. These can be done standing or sitting.
2. Shadow boxing. One needs to be cautious when doing this. You do not want to accidently punch someone.
3. Stretch arms in front of body, grab fingers, and lightly pull down fingers
4. Stand tall and alternate left and right knees, bending knee up to chest
5. Sit in chair, contract abdominal muscles
6. Straight posture, shoulders back, back straight, chin up, and buttocks slightly tucked in- slowly bend as if you are going to sit in a chair- bend to comfortable level then stand up-repeat throughout the day
7. Leg curls. Sit in a chair and bend leg up from knee- rotate legs
8. Gluteal squeezes. Throughout the day, squeeze the buttocks and let go.
9. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
These exercises should be done with good posture and 8 to 12 times per set.
According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, adults need an equivalent mix of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging) and 2 or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities.1The above activity is a good way to start to reach this goal.
Nurses may not have free time or energy to exercise, but hopefully these exercises will help with relieving stress, toning, and the cardiovascular system until you are able to go to the gym. Few of us can take 20 uninterrupted minutes between patients to devote to these exercises. So try 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there until you reach 20 minutes.
Remember, 20 minutes 3 times a week is your starting goal. Even if you don’t have that much time, spend the time you do have. This routine is a good start to reaching the goal that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended for improving your health. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. The important thing is to keep moving!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have 26 years of nursing experience specializing in emergency room care and post-anesthesia care. I received my Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Florida State University and my Masters of Science in Health Services with an emphasis on Wellness Promotion from Independence University. The combination of the two degrees in nursing/wellness and my interest in fitness have inspired me to write this article to help other nurses find ways to keep healthy.
1. How much physical activity do adults need? (n.d.). Retrieved from How much physical activity do adults need?
| Physical Activity | CDC
I have 26 years of nursing experience specializing in emergency room and post-anesthesia care. I received my Bachelors of Science in Nursing From Florida State University and my Masters of Science in Health Services with an emphasis on Wellness Promotion from Independence University.
Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 3; Likes: 7Feb 14, '17These tips are awesome! They all add to the mindset of being active and fit. Fitness = Mindset
After working doubles back to back, we can become out of tune with our muscles. We start to play tricks on our mind. We start believing we don't need to worry about our bodies right now because we have been working hard and we don't have the time. I know I have been guilty of this. Next thing you know 3 months pass by and I haven't been to the gym once.
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