Top six ways to fit in fitness when you’re a nurse
Being a nurse is no mean feat. Every day brings with it new challenges and your priorities are constantly changing. A 12-hour shift can quite easily turn into a 17-hour day, and come the end of the week, it’s common to be on the brink of exhaustion.
So, it’s fair to say, sticking to a schedule can be pretty tricky. And even if you had the time to fit in an exercise class, the thought of heading to a gym after all that can feel like it’s just too much.
The good news is, exercise isn’t just about loud music and insane workouts. In fact, most of the time, it’s about feeling good about ourselves.
Exercise is about listening to your body and giving it what it needs – whether that’s strength, flexibility or a complete cardio de-stress.
And it’s such a useful tool to have as well. Not only do you get a lovely boost of endorphins, but exercise is a wonderful remedy to a busy day on the ward, and is the perfect opportunity to stretch out and (attempt to!) relax.
You just need to find what works for you.
To help, we’ve listed our top six ways to keep your body strong and ready for the week ahead, while fitting in with an ever-changing work schedule.
How to fit in fitness when you work 12-hour shifts
1) Channel your inner Yogi
If you haven’t done Yoga before, understandably it can look a little daunting. Just one quick Google of the different poses you can do and it’s enough to put any novice off.
There are however, so many benefits from doing Yoga. Not only strengthening and stretching out your muscles – ideal for when you’ve been on your feet all day. But improving your joint flexibility can help with tight backs and sore shoulders, and it’s great for switching your mind off too.
Being new to Yoga is of course extremely common and it takes years of practice to build up to the more complex positions. And what this means is there are lots of ways you can ease yourself in, without doing anything too extreme.
Yoga Mats are great for giving yourself a dedicated space to work out in. They also give you a nice, smooth surface to straighten out your spine and just breathe. There are lots of short introductions to Yoga and stretching routines you can follow online, and it’s something you can do quietly at home, whatever the time of day.
Yoga blocks are also great and are used regularly by all abilities too. They can be used for something as simple as sitting on, to help you maintain good posture. Or they can provide support while holding many of the positions – for your joints or just giving you something to grab hold of to steady your balance.
And if you’re looking to stretch out your back and improve your posture, Yoga Wheels are ideal for giving you the support you need as you start to introduce a greater range of movement to your spine.
Yoga is a fantastic tool for easing aches and pains as well as getting a little me-time. Which we all know is in short supply!
Find everything you need to get started from Mirafit.
2) Feel strong, feel empowered
Being a nurse is definitely a test of strength – both physically and mentally. And although a big part of the job allows us to build up strength naturally, one thing we miss is balance. And the problem with imbalance is that it can lead to strain and injury.
Helping patients in and out of bed, shifting various pieces of equipment and simply being on our feet all day, all takes its toll.
By working on our strength, it not only helps us cope with and recover from these daily events, but it’s also a chance to concentrate on ourselves.
With just a weight bench and some dumbbells, we can re-distribute our strength and get back the balance we need. Strengthening is also a very mindful experience. Counting reps and sets is really mindful which is great for lifting your mood. It also helps you stay in the moment too – allowing your concerns from the day to quieten a little.
The Mirafit M1 Folding Adjustable Weight Bench is fantastic value for money and can be brought out and used whenever you like – at whatever time of day you choose to work out. Set yourself up with some soft touch dumbbells and you can work a range of muscles in both your upper and lower body.
Having a weight bench allows you to target different muscles as well as get a strong support as you work out. And if you’re feeling energised or just want to burn off some stress, they can be used for cardio too.
Find everything you need to get started from Mirafit.
3) Time for a step up
Steppers are fantastic pieces of equipment and they’re really versatile too. Not only are they simple to use and perfect for anyone who is new to fitness, they’re low impact and easy to store too.
Stressful day? Put on your favourite playlist and burn off some adrenaline by stepping, jumping, lunging and more.
There are lots of step routines you can follow online that will really help you work up a sweat.
And when you’re done with the cardio side of things, they are a great aid for resistance work too. Use for decline push ups, mountain climbers, planks and triceps dips for overall strength and conditioning.
The Mirafit Aerobic Exercise Stepper comes with raiser blocks which clip underneath so it takes up less space when stored. Add height to up the intensity or bring it back down for an easier workout after a long day.
4) Build up your inner core
Sometimes a full-on workout is just too much. The idea of having to follow a routine after a long shift is the last thing you want to do.
One of the best ways to approach fitness is to do it little and often. After all, doing one minute of sit ups is better than doing none at all.
And working on your abs and lower back can really help you throughout your working day – especially when you spend all day on your feet.
We all know that feeling of a tight lower back and just needing to stretch out and ease the tension. One of the best ways to remedy this is to build up the strength around your core. This will help condition your body to spending such long hours standing up.
The Mirafit M3 Sit Up Bench is perfect for helping you build up strength around the areas you need it the most. By doing sit ups at an angle you can get a more intense workout – which also means you can spend less time doing them. The bench also allows you to work your lower core which is notoriously more difficult to target.
And once you’re done? The bench is lovely to relax on and stretch out your spine.
5) Rule with a cast iron fist
Kettlebells are fantastic pieces of gym equipment for nurses because they’re small, easy to use and highly functional. Brilliant for strengthening your grip, arms, core and stabilising muscles, they’ll really help you build strength as well as work up a sweat.
They don’t take up much room either so if you’ve arrived home and fancy a quick workout while dinner’s on, you can take them out and store them away quickly and easily.
Kettlebells are also really unique in the fact that they can work all the key areas including your arms, shoulders, hips, glutes, triceps, quads and core.
Mirafit does a range of kettlebells that all come in different sizes from super light ones which are great for doing shoulder exercises, to much heavier ones – ideal for squats and deadlifts.
Here’s a video for tips and inspiration:
6) Time to level up
It’s rare that there isn’t a day where you just want to come home and crash. But they do happen! And when you want to come home and burn off some energy, boxing is fantastic for fitness, shifting adrenaline and getting rid of the stresses of the day.
Free standing Punch Bags are perfect for when you work long hours as you can use them whenever you need without the hassle of having to try and make the next boxfit class.
Keep them in the utility room or in the garage, pop in your headphones and go for it. They’re brilliant no matter your ability and it’s just a chance to work up a sweat and feel good. Not to mention getting out some of the
Add to your routine with a skipping rope for full on cardio as well as strengthening. You’ll definitely feel it the next day. A great all-round approach to fitness that fits in with your schedule and lifestyle.
We know what it’s like to be standing up all day with aching feet and a sore back. These Mirafit Double Massage Balls are a brilliant remedy. Small enough to pop in your bag and take to work with you, bring them out whenever you need and roll them under your feet or lean up against the wall with them in-between your shoulders or lower back, to get rid of any knots.
Simple, effective and great value for money, they’re a must-have for medical-professionals everywhere.
When it comes to fitness, the best thing to do is listen to your body and give it what it needs. Whether that’s stretching and strengthening aching muscles, burning off some energy or doing an exercise that’s mindful to help you switch off at the end of the day.
Exercise is so important in terms of boosting your happy hormones, clearing your mind and helping your body recover and repair. So, while you’re spending almost all of your time helping others, make sure you take some time out to help yourself too.
Feeling inspired? Find everything you need at Mirafit.