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Tips for juggling fitness and shiftwork?

Stress 101   (458 Views 7 Comments)
by Moveitalong123 Moveitalong123 (New Member) New Member Nurse

77 Visitors; 3 Posts

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Hey all, 

First post here! I've been a nurse for ~5 years in several different settings but last year returned to hospital work (and so to the dreaded shiftwork!) When I worked in the community setting it was much easier to stick to a fitness regimen that worked. I was running 3x week and doing HIIT or core on in between days with long bike rides on weekends. I felt amazing!

Now I struggle figuring out how to balance things. I've gained some weight and just feel frustrated with being too tired at the end of the day to run outside or hit the gym. It turns into a cycle of 1 day of exercise during my 4 day set and then trying to catch up/cram in all my other runs into my days off. 

What works for you guys? Do you work out before or after work? only on days off? Don't get me wrong, I'm super thankful for my job and realize this is a bit of a 1st world problem, but I would like to be a healthy healthcare worker! 

Thanks for any advice 🙂

Edited by Moveitalong123

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

11 Followers; 65 Articles; 169,567 Visitors; 13,886 Posts

Full disclosure -- I don't run.  And I'm not particularly fit these days.  But I walk, and I swim.  It's actually easier when I work the night shift -- I can go for a walk or a swim before my first night on, and then after my last shift.  Sometimes, colleagues and I walk on our break during the night shift -- it's a mighty big hospital and we do laps.  I alternate swimming and walking on my days off . . . or that's the idea. Sometimes I'll walk every day, and other times I'll swim every day.  

When I'm working days, I may walk after my last shift of the three in a row because I don't have to get up so early the next day.  Otherwise, it's alternating walking and swimming on my days off. I have colleagues who go to the gym after their shift and that seems to work out well for them, but I don't have the discipline.  Once I turn on the ignition, my car seems to get itself home on auto-pilot.

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barcode120x has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN.

9,825 Visitors; 496 Posts

I generally clump my shifts together and do all 3 nights in a row. That being said, I cannot gym at all between each shift. I need my 8-9 hours of sleep between shifts. I gym on all other days which is about 4 times a week (weight training and 45min-1hr of cardio) and always in the morning whenever I wake up. I also gym the morning of my 1st nightshift.

Honestly, it all comes down to motivation and consistency if your finding it hard to balance working out into your life. No matter how busy your life may be, you need to find that spark to get yourself to the gym. It could be a gym partner, a weight loss goal, a coach to keep you accountable, etc. Once you develop a plan and stick it, it becomes a routine. After the routine, it becomes a daily part of your life. Like for me, I always gym in the morning. If I have chores, if I have homework, if I have shopping to do, it all comes after the gym. 

Edited by barcode120x

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77 Visitors; 3 Posts

Thanks for the info guys! It just helps to know what others do that works 🙂

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Pixie.RN has 18 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and works as a ED/Trauma, Educator, IP/Nurse Epidemiologist.

7 Followers; 32 Articles; 126,386 Visitors; 12,939 Posts

I was a run streaker — I ran 831 days in a row, starting in November 2014, until I had to stop running midway through my pregnancy in March 2017. I did at least a mile each day, but usually 2 or 3. I could do a 5K in about 30 minutes, which is really a small part of my day. I typically worked mids in my ER (11a-11p) on a Panama schedule (2 days on, 2 days off, 3 days on, 2 days off, 2 days on, 3 days off). If I was in my three-day-on stretch, I might just knock out a quick mile before work. I was able to run longer on my days off, of course. 

I think it's just a matter of getting into the mindset that you can do a little something even when it's a workday. It's not necessarily healthy to do something every day like I did, but I just got caught up in the Streak numbers when I was in triple digits and beyond, haha. Thanks to the Army I really can't run now (injured hip while deployed, plus working 12-hour shifts in the ER while wearing boots gave me bad feet 🙄), so I have a gym-quality rower in my garage. I might start a row streak, haha. 

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77 Visitors; 3 Posts

Woa! Major streak there, nice work. I think you're right about mindset. I may have just been a little swamped when I moved and started a new job, shifting back into the swing of things with shift work. Good luck with the row streak!! I've got back on track this last month and decided to shoot for a 1/2 marathon this fall to keep me honest in my workouts! 

 

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26 Visitors; 2 Posts

I'm still kind of working on this myself. Thus far I've tried to incorporate going for casual walks on my days off; and I am wanting to become a little more disciplined in doing yoga. When the weather starts being consistently warmer here I will try to pick up some swimming as well.

As far as when I exercise, I try to focus more on my days off. I just recently converted to night shift so my days before work I'm more focused with keeping myself asleep. Eventually though I'd like to start doing a little bit of yoga in the mornings before bed.

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