Nurses move a lot, and sometimes in ways that are not always comfortable or easy. So when it comes to exercise, it is so important to do things that will help your overall movements in every day life so that you can continue to move well and prevent injury, especially on the job. While it's great to have all kinds of goals, like lose 10 pounds, fit into a certain dress, build muscle, etc... we need to make sure we are not compromising our everyday movements by the ways in which we try to attain these goals. With the retirement age getting older and older, we need to make sure we can continue in our jobs for as long as we need to! By only using isolation machines at the gym, sticking to the same cardio routine every day (example: only using the elliptical or running 7 days per week), or by ignoring basic movements that are necessary to help prevent injury, we can set ourselves up for disaster. That being said, the exercises we choose to do need to be safe and effective, not risky or making us prone to long term pain, tightness, or injury. And yes, you can still reach your goals!
By including the basic primal movements into our exercise routines, we can make sure we are not ignoring important exercises that will help maintain our overall functional fitness. These movements include exercises that involve squats, lunges, pushing, pulling, twisting and bending. Nurses do a lot of that stuff! These can be done using body weight alone, or eventually with added resistance. By practicing these movements safely in a controlled way while building up strength, endurance, and flexibility in these movements, we are helping prolong our ability to safely do our job (and enjoy living our lives!). I don't know about you, but I sure know that I have been caught in many situations at work when you have to move fast to catch a patient who may be falling, twisting while lifting and moving heavy equipment, squatting down to measure some kind of drainage output, pushing a stretcher or bed, and the list goes on. Working out in a way that helps strengthen and better you in these movements is key. It will make everything so much easier!
Terri Wentzell is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience. She is also a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, fitness nutrition coach, and sport yoga instructor.