As a travel nurse, it’s not uncommon to work long shifts while providing first-rate care to your patients. Although rewarding, this strenuous routine can hinder your physical health. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity per day to keep your heart healthy and improve your well-being overall. That’s why we created these ten simple exercises that you can do in between daily tasks such as charting, administering medications, and physical exams.
The calves are an instrumental part of our daily lives, helping us in our small everyday movements. As a travel nurse, it’s essential to strengthen these muscles to prevent injuries and improve stability. You can do this exercise indiscreetly around the hospital. Simply place your hands on your hips, or put your hands on the wall if you need some stability. Lift onto the balls of your feet and squeeze your calves and glutes. Hold for a couple of seconds and lower back down. Make sure that you’re standing straight and your core is tight. 15-20 reps should do the trick! If that’s too easy, add weights to each arm.
Squats are perfect if you are looking for an exercise that targets multiple muscles in your lower body. Place your feet wider shoulder-width apart and maintain the knee and spine in a neutral position when squatting down as if you were sitting in a chair. If you are looking for a bit more balance, spread your legs wider. 10 to 15 reps should get your heart rate moving and blood pumping. If you want a challenge, try jump squats.
Another great lower body exercise is lunges. Lunges are great for balance and stability. Alternate lowering one knee as low as you can while keeping a straight spine. Keep your arms to the side and lookup. Repeat 10-12 times on each leg.
Try chair dips or tricep dips if you find yourself sitting on a sturdy chair that won’t roll away during your shift. This exercise targets the muscle on the back of your upper arms. Sit on your chair with your feet hip-distance apart. Move your torso to the end of the chair so your lower body is hovering off the floor and your palms are where your buttocks should be. Breathe in as you slowly lower your body off the chair at a 90-degree angle. Breathe out as you push your body back up to the starting position. Start with 7-10 reps, and increase the amount you do overtime.
Imaginary Jump Ropes
Since bringing a jump rope to work is highly unlikely, you can do the next best thing, pretend jump roping. Stand with your feet close together and extend your arms out. Jump up and down while making circular motions with your hands. This exercise helps burn calories and improve heart health.
You don’t need fancy weights or dumbbells to target your arm muscles. Arm circles will do the trick. All you need to do is move your arms in a circular motion one way and then reverse the movement. Continue for 15-20 reps. To make it more difficult, try increasing the reps.
Wall sits are a great way to build up endurance in your lower-body muscles. Find a wall you can lean up against and lower your body to a 90-degree angle. Hold for thirty seconds to a minute and then slide back up. Inch lower or hold the squat for longer if you want a challenge.
Marching is a quick and easy movement to get your heart rate up and keep your immune system strong. Alternate one knee in front of the other. Keep your back straight and chest open. You can do this around the hospital or facilities in between your daily responsibilities.
This exercise targets the entire body and is a great modifier for regular push-ups. Face the wall arm’s length away and place your hands shoulder-width apart. Bend elbows and move towards the wall. Hold the position for a couple of seconds, and then move back until your arms are straight. Try this exercise for 15-20 reps. You can make this exercise more challenging by moving your feet further back.
Take a plank break at work if there’s enough space. Planks are great for balancing and strengthening your core muscles. All you need to do is place your forearms on the floor and keep a straight posture. Try to hold the position for at least a minute.
We understand that the travel nursing career comes with difficulties especially exercising! No movement is too small, and doing these workouts once or twice a day can improve your physical well-being. If you get in the habit of exercising, you will start to feel better every day! Share these exercises with your travel nursing friends so that they can benefit from these movements too. And don’t forget to take the time to stretch your muscles before and after a workout.