One of the early items sacrificed by the time-crunched doctor is exercise. You must purposely put this in your schedule or it will not happen. You are forever suggesting your patients get more exercise, but do you do it yourself? Practice what you preach. Exercise is an important part of your well-being. It gives you more energy to get through the day. Your heart will be healthier and your muscles stronger. Stamina improves as well. You will feel a lot better when regular exercise is part of your routine. If you are feeling run down, it can often be traced to a lack of adequate exercise. Exercise gives you more energy, makes you feel better, and promotes better sleep. Exercise expert and motivational speaker Chalene Johnson puts it this way when asked how often we should exercise:
Only exercise on days you want to improve your mood.
Lack of exercise never used to be a problem in our society. Everyone worked hard all the time. Jobs were strenuous. Now our society has lots of jobs with no exercise at all. Doctors fall into this group, sitting or standing all day long, or taking the elevator instead of the stairs. You’ll often hear doctors say, “I walk all over the hospital.” Walking around at the hospital is activity, not exercise. Your heart rate doesn’t approach 140 and you don’t break a sweat. Both resistance and aerobic training need to be part of your routine. Make the time to get a real workout at least four times a week. Do it with your family and you get some bonus time together. You will feel better and your family will feel better, and you will set a good example for them and your patients.
I know of several doctors who make lunchtime an exercise hour. They go to the gym, go for a power walk, or go jogging. Do it with your spouse and you get exercise, recharge time, and a date all rolled into one. That’s a win-win-win-win deal.
My friend Dr. Julia Kinder put together an exercise series you can do Right Now! It is a set of cards, each one a different exercise. You draw a card and throughout the day do that exercise while you are working. For example, if you draw toe walk, you could walk on your toes between every patient that day. This give you an opportunity to exercise your calf muscles today without any time sacrifice. Even the busiest doctor can do that. No need of equipment and no time needed to change clothes or shower. You can find her exercise Right Now! cards here.
Make time for exercise in your busy day. You need to make time for you, no one else will. If you don’t stay healthy, you won’t be able to make others healthy. Learn more about what you can do to improve your medical life in my book The Doctors Guide to Starting Your Practice Right.
Comment below on your favorite way to stay fit.