Whenever you embark on any career that involves being on the job in a new location, including travel nursing, breaking your everyday routine can make it more challenging to stay fit.
Oftentimes in the process of getting to know your new co-workers, the focus is on social gatherings that include lots of dining out and drinking. It’s enough to make even the most dedicated end up with out of shape and with unwanted pounds.
If you hope to keep your energy levels up and avoid gaining weight, consider these tips for staying fit while living as a travel nurse.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE GYM
While it’s easy to procrastinate, that’s one of the quickest ways for your fitness level to plummet. If you have a gym membership back home, check to see if it has a location in your new city. Otherwise, do some research to find out of there are gyms in the area that offer short-term memberships or take advantage of an apartment complex fitness center. Another option is to check with the facility you’re working at to see if there is a gym onsite.
Of course, you don’t have to go to a gym to get a workout in. Running, walking, cycling, hiking, and other fun outdoor activities are great too, and you’ll get to enjoy the area’s scenery. If the weather doesn’t allow, try one of the exercise classes on YouTube.
SCHEDULE IN THOSE WORKOUTS
When you’re working a lot of hours it can be easy to forgo regular exercise, but remember that in the long run, you’ll be much better off mentally and physically, helping both on the job and in your personal life. Make a commitment to exercise by scheduling in your workouts just like you would any other important tasks. Ideally, aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day – if that’s too much at a time, breaking it up into shorter increments will do the trick too.
PLAN MORE PHYSICAL SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Instead of planning food- and drink-focused social activities with your new friends, plan to take walks, bike rides or hikes together. If your co-workers aren’t enthused, you might consider joining a local group or club through a site like Meetup.com which can allow you to meet more like-minded people to get active with.
TRY NURSE SPECIFIC EXERCISES
As nursing is such a physically demanding position, work-related musculoskeletal injuries are common, but exercising regularly can make a significant difference in preventing them. As cardio and strength training are both important, you might want to try exercises like the reverse lunge which will get your heart pumping as well as strengthen your legs, glutes, and core. To perform them, stand and bring your right foot backwards into the lunge position as you raise your arms into the air, and then return to standing. Repeat five times on each leg. High knees is another good exercise; you’ll stand in place and slowly lift one knee into the air so that it’s bend and as high to the chest as possible while your thighs stay parallel to the ground. Repeat on the other leg, continuing for 10 minutes.
Stretching is essential for maintaining flexibility and balance. The torso twist is a favorite among nurses – take a deep inhale and then exhale while twisting to the right. Hold for 20 seconds or so as you look over your right shoulder and then repeat the stretch to the left.
GET YOUR ZZZS
In between working and exploring all the things there are to see in your new city, many travel nurses end up with a lack of sleep. That not only makes it more difficult to concentrate on the job, but it can lead to weight gain with hormones becoming out of whack, increasing appetite. Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night as often as possible.