Nursing is certainly one of the most stressful and demanding jobs you can ever hope to do. It’s also one of the most rewarding. Nurse self care is vital in this role, and one important factor in self care is exercise.
Of course, when you’ve been working a long hard shift, the last thing you may want to do is exercise. Yes, you know it’s good for you, but do you have the energy? Many nurses naturally have a level of exercise as part of their daily routine, particularly if they work in an area like A&E or have a district nursing job.
Unfortunately, at least one study has found that as many as 1 in 4 nurses are thought to be overweight. It’s led to calls for employers such as the NHS to do more to keep their staff in good health.
Nurse Self Care: The Benefits of Exercise
- Even a small amount of exercise improves physical fitness and boosts energy levels
- Regular exercise as part of a healthy eating routine is the best way to ensure that you maintain a good weight
- Exercise actually makes you feel good, releasing endorphins that put you in a great mood
- When you exercise regularly, you look good and that can give your self esteem a big boost
- Exercise builds endurance, something that’s important in many aspects of healthcare work
It’s not just the physical side of things that exercise helps with. It has been shown to reduce stress and promote good sleep leading to a better sense of overall well-being.
Nurse Self Care: How to Bring Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
There are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and it doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. For a start, a brisk walk once a day for just 15 minutes can get your blood flowing and improve energy levels. The trick is to find something that suits you and which can be easily incorporate into your life. If you love going to the gym, that’s great, but not everybody does. The good news is there are excellent ways to practise your nurse self care and exercise at home.
You could jump on an exercise bike or simply buy yourself a skipping rope, for example. Both are great for getting the heart rate up. You can even exercise while you’re at work. Doing a few squats, side stretches or jumping jacks when you have a spare moment help release all those endorphins as well as shake off the pressures of the day. Could you walk to work instead of driving or taking public transport?
Department of Health guidelines suggest that we should all be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. What does moderate mean? If you’re getting slightly out of breath while doing your exercise, then you’re probably doing it just right.
Here are a few exercise options you may want to consider:
- Joining an exercise club: There are many that operate outside nowadays in parks and on promenades around the country and they’re great if you want to join in with other people (you may even make a few new friends locally!)
- Take up yoga: It’s perfect for stretching those limbs and muscles but is low impact enough to not be too strenuous on the body
- Try hill walking in the country: The countryside is beautiful, and its free. Just get yourself a pair of comfy walking shoes and you’re ready to go (this will also help you to unwind mentally)
- Go for a swim at your local leisure centre: This is one of the best all-round exercises and also not too impactful on joints
- See if high intensity training is right for you: HIIT involves quick bursts of exercise and has been show to improve fitness quickly. It’s also a great exercise option for those who are short of time
If you’re working in healthcare or you are in need of nurse self care, it’s never too early or too late to start creating your own special exercise regime. Start with a few simple changes and you’ll soon see a difference.
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