On our journey to becoming health professionals we are so so so busy and we do a lot of prioritizing. Unfortunately working out and staying healthy for some (me included lol) falls low on our priority list. We speak to patients every day and counsel them on the importance of exercising and eating healthy, but forget to practice what we preach! (sigh). Exercising is the physical part of health we have to nurture in addition to mental and spiritual. In order to perform at your optimal in the classroom and on the wards you have to take care of your health.
Here are some of my tips to help you get started:
- Find an accountability partner!
Wether that’s a classmate, friend or another member at the gym, find your person and get started! You can both hold each other accountable, check-in and stay consistent. Don’t worry if you fall off the horse, help each other get back up! Also technology is so cool, you can invest in something like a fitbit and complete “steps” challenges with others around you that will also allow you to tap into your competitive side and make fitness happen!
2. Bring exercise to YOU!
No matter where you are in the world bring fitness to you. Access to youtube has made it impossible to make excuses, so fire up a quick video and get active! If you are studying with a group of friends or alone take a 10- 15 minute study break and walk the stairs or do a lap around the building or if you are feeling real ambitious have a sit-up or push-up challenge with your fellow study buddies! You can even take a 30 minute study break and hit the gym or a work-out class (i.e zumba, yoga etc) If you are on the wards, get a group of attendings, residents, nurses or your classmates and take a wellness break and walk several flights of stairs. I did the last option during my sub-I. We walked 12 flights of stairs in the hospital and it surely got my heart rate up! Give one of these a try and let me know how it goes! Also feel free to share more options and lets stay fit together!
3. Make a conscious EFFORT and FORGIVE yourself!
When you make your weekly schedule, you have to make an effort to put fitness on there. Start slow with maybe 2-3 days a week for 30 minutes and if you like you can increase. But you have to prioritize it and tackle this task like every other task you will conquer during the week. But I want you to know it’s okay if you miss a day or a week, forgive yourself and get back on it!
How do you stay active in medical school? Feel free to share!