Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nurses: Take Time for Health and Fitness

As a nurse, you are continually concerned with the welfare of others. The demands on your time for work (your patients), family, education can stretch you in so many directions that it is very easy to neglect the one person that you need to take care of first in order to take care of others – you.

Health and fitness are central to the medical field. As a nurse who treats people on the mend, you emphasize the patient’s need to follow doctor’s orders: Take their medicine, eat right, and get an adequate amount of sleep and exercise. You explain the importance of a good diet and to avoid toxic food and beverages, getting ample sleep and work in a daily exercise regimen. But do we practice what we preach? It seems impossible. What can we do now that will at least get us headed in the right direction?

A proper diet is the first place to start and it does not take any time out of our day to be sure that we are eating healthy. The best motivator may be to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) in order to measure your body fat relative to your height and weight. http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ Once you have assessed where you are and where you need to be, the next step would be to create a suitable diet. Build the proper diet using the food pyramid. MyPyramid.gov will create the diet that is right for you. http://www.mypyramid.gov/index.html

Next – sleep! This may be more challenging than coming up with the right diet, but sleep deprivation certainly hinders your mental health and is just as important to correct as your nutritional regime. What bad habits keep you from getting to bed when you should? Having something to eat or drink that you can forgo, knowing it will keep you up? Staying up to watch just a little more TV? Engaging in frivolous internet activity? You can start here by simply…going to bed.

Finally, the real challenge – exercise! How do we take time to work out? A much tougher question to answer by mere suggestion. Here is where we really need to find time in our day and then, what exactly do we do? There is truly only one way to implement exercise into your day and that is by dedicating the time needed. If it takes away family time, include family in your workout routine; everyone can go for a walk, go swimming, bike riding and lift weights. You may even find this to be quality family time and open up lines of communication to discuss family issues. The time in front of the TV can be the time we use for exercise. We can argue this time is used to “take our mind off things.” This will still be accomplished during your workout and will achieve the healthier objective of rejuvenating your brain. If you can not pull yourself away from the TV, then how about some calisthenics while watching?

Finalize your health and fitness regimen and keep to your established routine. You do not have to do everything at once but it is imperative to get started. As you get started, implement reminders that there is change in your life. Move your alarm clock to where you need to get “out of bed” to shut it off. This will get you out of bed in the morning (as opposed to giving your workout, to your snooze alarm) as well as being a “reminder.” Write a short shopping list of the nutritional foods you need to buy for your new diet – right now, right a couple of things down! Put that list in your car where you will see it as a reminder that you need to stop at the market on the way home.

In conclusion, living a healthier lifestyle will increase your energy level, sharpen your mental acuity and allow you to do exponentially more.

In conclusion, living a healthier lifestyle will increase your energy level, sharpen your mental acuity and allow you to do exponentially more.

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