Nursing is a mentally exhausting and physically demanding job. A nurse’s job involves moving from one room to another and attending to multiple patients simultaneously throughout the day. In a 12-hour shift, a nurse walks for approximately four miles during the day or night. Therefore, nurses can survive in this demanding career only if they are mentally and physically fit.
Witnessing death, pain, and trauma throughout their career takes a toll on their mental health. Therefore, burnout is common among nurses. Mental fatigue, emotional detachment, low self-esteem, and negative self-perception result from burnout and ultimately impact the productivity of nurses. Nurses’ tough jobs require them to maintain a work-life balance, including good mental and physical health activities and keeping their emotions in check. One way to achieve all this in one go is by adding exercise to your daily routine. Exercising can have a tremendously positive effect on the personal and professional life of a nurse.
What health benefits can exercise bring for professional nurses?
A nurse’s job is to take care of their patients and help them recover from their illnesses. However, it is not possible if they are not healthy themselves. Mentally and physically exhausted nurses are more prone to errors.
Exercise, on the other hand, keeps you fit. It reduces blood pressure, regulates your heartbeat, keeps your weight in check, and lowers injury risks. It also improves the sleep cycle and reduces stress levels. Given the physical nature of nurses’ work and extensive use of muscles, regular exercise can build up and strengthen their muscles and increase flexibility.
Most nursing degrees, including the online bachelor of science in nursing, MSN, and others, educate nurses on preventive health measures such as exercise as an essential aspect of patient care. They also emphasize the need for nurses to take care of themselves and keep fit.
Nurses can include various exercises in their daily routine to achieve a lean body and strong muscle strength, making them more efficient and productive at the workplace. Some options include:
Lunges work on your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. They are the best exercise to tone your entire body. Lunges are described as unilateral exercises, meaning that it works on one part of the body at a time. Since it conditions one side of your body separately from the other, it can immensely improve your balance, coordination, and stability.
For lunges, stand with your feet shoulder-length apart. Now move one foot forward and lower your hips. The ideal position is when your knees are bent at 90 degrees angle. When you bend down from the standing position to take the lunge position, tighten your abdominal muscles. Return to your initial position and repeat the same steps with the other leg. All this time, keep your body straight and locked in one place. Keep your shoulder, and chin relaxed. Otherwise, it can strain your neck.
Core muscles assist in maintaining balance. Proper focus on these muscles during your exercise regimen can increase your strength which is extremely necessary for your job at the hospital. Weaker core muscles lead to exhaustion, a higher probability of lower back pain, and injury.
Plank is an excellent exercise for strengthening muscles. They increase your stability, tone up your whole body, and improve posture. Doing planks is one of the easiest exercises. To do so, place your forearm on the floor to align your elbows to your shoulder. Rest on your toes and then rise. The body should stay in this posture for as long as it can manage. Start with a thirty-second plank and work to increase the time gradually.
Your exercise regime should not be boring at all. Aerobics is a fun exercise that you can do at home or join a group at a gym. Aerobics is a cardiovascular exercise that improves mood, enhances blood circulation, improves muscle strength, builds stamina, and relieves stress. Regular cardiovascular exercises also increase your energy; you can be more active during your work hours.
Walking is one of the easiest cardiovascular exercises. Park your car away from the building and use stairs instead of an escalator. If your workplace is within walking distance, skip driving; rather, walk to your workplace in the morning and evening. Walking can shed the fog of stress surrounding you after a hectic day at work.
- Yoga and meditation
Mental health exercises are as important as physical health exercises. Stress and compassion fatigue can engulf you due to emotionally taxing work as a nurse. Therefore, maintaining your mental health is important to avoid many illnesses. Yoga and meditation are often cited as stress busters, though they also help develop your posture and balance. You can allocate twenty minutes every day for yoga and meditation and get a boost in your energy.
Nursing is mentally and physically tiring. It can give you good money and job security but not promise your fitness. Keeping yourself fit is your responsibility that you must commit to and fulfill religiously. You cannot take care of your patients with a body fatigued to its last fiber. Adding healthy exercises to your routine keeps you fit, replenishes your energy store, and never lets it drain out. A thirty-minute exercise session added to your routine is enough to keep you fit and healthy, and productive at work.