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Nurses, do you exercise?

Specializes in Med-Surg.

I'm wondering if other nurses exercise on their days off. I started going to the gym at least 2 x week and feel it has made a tremendous difference in my overall mood and energy levels. I think it might be the endorphins but I was feeling a bit depressed between shifts at a time and exercise and healthy eating has literally reversed that.

Anyone else have any experiences with how exercise has helped or not so much in improving the quality of your life and inadvertently the quality of your work?


Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

I just started with a personal trainer yesterday. I work full time and have an elementary school aged child. I'm paying for 3 days per week of training in order to motivate me/ force myself to exercise. I'm doing 1 day on my own.

Yes I woke up today feeling better than I usually do. Endorphins are good!

Working out helps me feel better physically during long shifts. I have more energy, back/legs hurt less, and its easier to lift patients!

I try to do some form of exercise on a daily basis. Whether it be walking, biking or yoga. I tend to get bored with the same type of exercise every day, so I like to mix the routine up a bit. My favorite activity is mowing the lawn with my push mower. Not only is the exercise beneficial, but I feel a sense of accomplishment when I am through.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

I am working up to a gym membership once the kids go back to school, but I have been going to yoga for about 6 weeks on the day after my 3-in-a-row. It really helps me from seizing up. Again, once the kids go back to school, I am going to try to go to 2 sessions of yoga and then some cardio at the gym. It really helps.

I don't like exertion and I don't like to sweat.

I do, however like to walk.Activity rather than exercise works. When I walk, I use the time to think. If something from work is bothering me, or left me upset, I use the walking time to mull over the situation, sort out my feelings, organize a plan, and by the time my walk is done I can move past my problems.

I work out heavy with weights and do cardio every day (thanks Army....).

I am never tired at shifts not sore after. I hate nurses who think a normal shift is good enough for a work out, that's a cop out.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

I've been a yogi for about 10 years now; I do change up positions and forms to give me a variety.

I started yoga when I was in PN school to help with my test anxiety...it really works on any type of stress and lifts my mood.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education.

The first thing I though of when I saw this title (sorry, couldn't resist):

NOTICE - This department requires no physical fitness program. Everyone gets enough exercise jumping to conclusions, flying off the handle, running down the boss, knifing friends in the back, dodging responsibility and pushing their luck.

I admit that I do not get regular exercise most of the time. Between my scheduled shifts, my overtime shifts (the result of working on a specialized OR team that requires a lot of call), and until recently school, I did not have any spare time for exercise beyond a 15 minute walk with my dog. And yes, I've noticed a lot of not so good things: crankier, more short-tempered, lack of motivation to do anything, and weight gain, among others. I'm sure the amount of stress I am/was under only enhanced the bad outcomes of not exercising. So, yes, exercise is a good thing but yet a difficult thing.


Specializes in PICU.

I work out, lift weights, "run", I do half marathons (I usually finish in the bottom of the pack, but I finish). I bike ride on the weekends. In the winter time I ski.

I like being active, and outside. I make time. Being active helps keep my spirits uplifted and gives me time to clear my mind. I am am doing a long nike ride (50 miles or more) there is plenty of time to think and reflect, likewise if I am running/walking on a long training run, 8-10 miles is a great time just to think.

Nursing can be a very stressful job whether you are working shifts, are in education, or in management. Staying active is a great release for me.

Nursing would be a whole different ball game if I didn't exercise. Like a previous poster mentioned, I'm not totally wiped after a shift, my back doesn't hurt, and I have the strength to move my patients, or whatever tough task needs to be done. However, I don't workout after a shift. Maybe walk the dogs, but rarely my usual weight lifting and cardio session at the gym. Instead, I take the stairs at work, park far away, and anything else I can do to include more activity in my day.

Nonyvole, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency.

I use the Zombies! Run! app, both the regular one and the couch to 5K version. When I can. I have two puppies that also require a lot of energy to wear out, so I'll be running around the backyard with them.

However, I also try to make it to organized exercise classes on a regular basis. Since I recently started a new job, my schedule is a bit different, but I'll at least go for a walk around the block.

I'm one of those people who has to work out, though, or else my mood ends up all over the map and my husband runs and hides...


Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

Working out helps me feel better physically during long shifts. I have more energy, back/legs hurt less, and its easier to lift patients!

I totally agree! After working out after work the last 2 days, I definitely feel better! I feel less stressed and my body doesn't hurt as much after work. I hope I can keep it up!

In the past I have set up too high of expectations of myself and my planned workouts were too time-consuming or too intense. I would feel intimated or too tired before I even started them. There have been numerous studies that show walking for 30 minutes several times a week at a brisk pace is nearly as beneficial to long-term health than more intense exercise. Plus it's probably gentler on your joints (and we all need our joints for our whole lives, right?). So based on that I try to walk most evenings after dinner. I enjoy putting on my music or an audiobook. It's been a lot more successful to stick with this current walking goal. For variety I sometimes ride my bike, but it's all very simple and enjoyable.

Mr. Murse

Specializes in critical care.

I have a workout routine I try do at home a few times a week, and also either trail run or jog every week too, with an occasional long hiking trip every month or two. I notice the difference when I don't. The past two weeks I have been slacking on my diet and exercise and I've felt just down and tired and.......well.......basically the same as I hear many of my coworkers who don't exercise say they feel all the time. haha.

When I'm on top of my routine, I always have plenty of energy and am generally in a good mood and love my job. This is also coming from a night shifter.

Equally important to exercise though is diet, of course. I can definitively say there is a significant and very noticeable difference in attitude and energy level between those who you see drinking sodas and junk food all the time who are not active outside of work, and those of us who drink water and good snacks who make time to take care of our own bodies outside of work.

And with that, I'm off for a late night jog.......

applewhitern, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

Not any more. I used to jog every night after work; I would jog or walk 5 nights per week. I have arthritis in my knees so bad now, I can't do it! I need a swimming pool......

malamud69, ADN, BSN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency.

Walk 5-7 miles every day and box when I can...daily exercise is essential to my sanity whether I work as a nurse or not...


Specializes in Surgical, quality,management.

Yes, over the last 9 months I have overhauled my diet and started seeing a PT. I have lost 21kg, feel so much more energetic (still don't like 5.30 am) but I can do my job and not pass out on the sofa after work. I have also noticed my stress levels have dropped despite my work load going up. My mood has also improved. 9 flights of stairs to work, I can get to 7 without getting puffed and then I just power through the last 2.

erinberrin, CNA

Specializes in Just starting out in a Nursing Home..

I try to exercise at least 2x's a week..I don't always get to do my 3 mile walk/run depending if I am going to the gym(run on treadmill) or outside track (walk). I think it depends on your schedual..exericise does help if you can fit it into work/ school scheduel. I also find chatting with other health care providers in a support group setting or getting rid of any negative energy is also very helpful.

In the summer time I exercise regularly, nearly everyday but the activity varies. Those things include, hiking, walking, bicycling, canoeing, fishing, and random outdoor play. I try to maintain a steady diet of activity in the winter but outside activity becomes more challenging when temperatures plummet. During winter I engage in hiking, walking, bicycling (we have special snow tires), snow shoeing, mushing, and skiing. Of course a great deal of winter time exercise comes from obtaining and preparing wood for the woodstove!


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