As a personal trainer for many years, I have had many clients who worked in the medical profession. Doctors and nurses have particular demands on them which I take into account when I am working out their fitness goals.
The three pillars of any plan for medics is helping them build stamina, pack exercise into busy schedules and pick workouts that reduce stress.
Nurses and medics are often on their feet for many hours each day, whether that is doing ward rounds or going between labs and waiting rooms. Cardiovascular workouts like walking and cycling are ideal because they help to build endurance and don’t require visits to a gym. In fact, cycling to work every day, along a hand-picked route which may be longer but takes you away from the particulate smog, can reduce journey times and provide much needed solitary time.
Stress-busting martial arts like judo and boxing are excellent for relieving frustration and stress – a major concern at this time. These types of combative exercise regimes also require a huge amount of concentration which is a kind of distraction therapy from the realities of everyday life. Even a workout like this once a week can make a huge difference.
Good health and good posture are intricately linked so I teach simple strategies to regain good posture even when writing up patient notes or sitting in front of a screen researching drug dosages. I teach that an invisible thread should be pulled up through the centre of your body, through the back of the neck and emerging at the very top of the head. Look straight ahead, neither looking up or down and hold that position for as long as you can.
Desk exercise to strengthen core abdominal muscles can be simple to do. Sit with feet a hip-width apart and feel the thread pulling you upright. Then, in your mind’s eye, pull your tummy in away from your waistband and hold it there for 10 seconds, and the release. Repeat this until your tummy muscles feel warm and engaged. Don’t move anything else as you perform the exercise so everything is focused on the tummy button.
Shoulder blade squeezes can be done almost anywhere anytime and help to open up the chest and stand tall. Simply squeeze the blades together slowly and relax. Repeat this as many times as you feel like and you’ll feel a lot better for it.