Fitting A Workout Into Your Busy Schedule
Many healthcare professionals would jump at the chance to have a three-day workweek.
While this setup sounds ideal, the reality of attempting to add anything else to those days on shift can be very challenging.
On those busy days, trying to fit another activity that requires an additional amount of regular energy is tough already.
Adding in a routine of exercise can feel impossible. It is understandable why nurses with a challenging schedule may want to quit before they even establish a great workout routine.
A seemingly simple solution to this problem may be to the only workout on days off. However, this isn’t a practical solution. If scheduled 3 or 4 days in a row, that extended amount of time off of the workout routine can have a strong negative impact on the momentum of getting back into the exercise routine. This is especially possible with healthcare workers who are exhausted from their shifts and already feel the need to rest. Secondly, it can be hard and energy-draining to coordinate social events with a workout schedule based entirely on days off of shift.
Based off of others consideration and experiences with trying to find such a routine, we would like to present some tips that help fit a workout routine into the busy schedule of anyone working in healthcare. Hopefully, these ideas can help build healthy habits over time that reduce the strain of nurses who want to stay physically fit!
Working Out Before or After Shift
Perhaps you are not the person who eagerly gets out of bed each morning. Maybe an after-shift workout is better for you. However, knowing yourself is crucial! If you are someone who tends to make excuses, especially at the end of a long day, working out before is strongly recommended. Quite often, a nursing shift can be emotionally, physically, or mentally draining. Engaging in the right, healthy behavior afterward is essential. A thriving lifestyle can be encouraged by healthy habits such as a consistent workout routine even on days with a long shift.
Don’t Make It Too Complicated
For days when you have exceptionally long shifts, light workouts may be more optimal. Getting to the gym each day is the real battle. A short jog, a short session of bodyweight exercises, or a light session yoga can be a great start to a busy day. If you prefer to work out after shift later at night, there are many resources for short, on-the-go workouts that can fit your situation! With this, it’s important to be able to discipline yourself to get up earlier or stay up a bit later to build the habit of the workout routine. Hitting the snooze button fewer times, and being able to adjust your sleep schedule slightly will significantly help to make this routine.
Just like it is vital to building a routine with your exercise, maintaining a healthy sleep pattern throughout the week matters too. A suggested minimum is 7 hours of sleep per night. Perhaps, your absolute least amount of sleep is less. Staying around 6-7 hours as a minimum will keep you from being tired and drowsy throughout the day. Planning social events or outings in consideration of your sleep schedule will help maintain that pattern. If it is primarily a struggle going to sleep early, then consider having a quiet time where you are in your bedroom relaxing and beginning to slow down the pace of your day. Playing music or even watching a little tv might help as well. Providing your brain time to slow down and shut off for the night, will eventually make it easier to fall asleep a bit earlier than you are accustomed to on late-night shifts. Getting enough rest each night matters, and it can be a challenge with a schedule that varies throughout the week. However, don’t give up, it’s very possible; it just takes time and practice!
A Little Boost Helps
Caffeine or pre-workout is not a necessity by any means. However, these additions can not only aid the productivity of your workout but help you overcome exhaustion that will be present as you build your healthy habits. Fighting the small excuses that keep you from working out is important. If you always find yourself being ‘too tired’ to workout, then drinking pre-workout or having some coffee will greatly assist you in exercising. Still not sure? There are even caffeine-free pre-workouts that you can find if caffeine is the issue. Their combination of natural ingredients produces the same energized effect for the exhausted nurse.
Finally, working out also can help you build community wherever you are stationed across the country. Whether you are at you’re exercising at a local gym or an outdoor park, there is always a potential to connect with other like-minded individuals through physical fitness! These workouts can start small and be built over time to be longer and stronger healthy habits. Long healthcare shifts can be exhausting, but your health shouldn’t suffer as a result.
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