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Top 5 reasons we nurses are unhealthy

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First of all, “unhealthy” is a very nice term. It’s not accusatory, nor is it mean or harsh. But the reality is A LOT of nurses I have worked with and do work with are UNHEALTHY.

UnHealthy =

  • Obese, overweight, sedentary ( This is in the eye of the beholder. I’m not implying that all nurses need to be the picture of health, but when your weight stops you from walking up stairs, or standing for long periods of time, etc. Basically hindering you from doing your job, it’s time for change)
  • Cigarette smoking (this and any other unhealthy habit falls into this category. How can you teach and educate your patients on improving your health when you wreak of cigarette smoke? Isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black?)- I only chose smoking since it is so prevalent in my experience.
  • Unhealthy eating habits (This consists of never preparing your own food to bring to work, ordering take out at work everyday, eating the deep-fried, cholesterol-laden cafeteria food daily, or snacking on every piece of candy you see)

Here are the top 5 reasons I hear from other nurses as to why they aren’t more healthy:

  1. I don’t have the time/ I have no place to go
  2. Smoking helps me relax / I can quit if I wanted to
  3. I’m too tired
  4. I’m too tired
  5. I’m not dieting – I hate dieting

“I don’t have the time/ I have no place to go”

Yes we all have busy schedules, yes some of us have a large family to tend to with children that deserve your attention, but time is also relative. I know and talk to plenty of busy Mom’s and Dad’s who find the time. Not only do they find the time, they maximize their time and effort. We all age differently, and our choices through life determine how we end up ‘physically’ – it’s up to us to make better choices in order to ‘better’ ourselves.

Do you have time to wait for the elevator?

Why aren’t you taking the stairs? Just how long did that elevator trip take, including the amount of time you waited for the elevator to arrive, and the number of stops it made before your destination? I worked on a unit in a hospital that was on the 6th floor. Not only was it on the 6th floor, but the nearest parking lot was 3 blocks away. I started small. First I’d walk the 3 blocks to work, but I’d take the elevator (and yes I’d wait for-ever!). Then I walked the 3 blocks, then walked as many stairs I could muster before I would bail out and finish the trip on the elevator. Before I knew it I was walking the 3 blocks and taking all 6 flights of stairs every day to and from work. Anything is possible!

Do you have time during your break to go out and smoke a cigarette?

Just imaging if you spent that time walking a couple laps around the hospital, or up and down the stairs. I see workers doing it all the time.

Do you have time to watch your favorite TV shows at night?

How about exercising in front of the TV? Maybe cut down the total time watching by half? Do some sort of continuous activity instead. Raise your heart rate and break a sweat!

Do you have time to surf the internet and play on your favorite social networks?

Ever consider cutting down on this? Splicing your time between the monitor and keyboard and maybe some exercising? How about going for a walk? Take a bike ride?

(This list is endless – get my point?)

If it’s worth it to you, if it’s important to you, you’ll make the time. The old-school theory of needing to be at the gym 3 times a week for hours each time has been proven wrong time and time again. You don’t even need to visit a gym. You can exercise in the comfort of your own home, and all you need is 30 dedicated minutes (preferably 3 times a week) of exercise which includes a 5 minute warm-up and 5 minute cool-down. You also don’t need to attend or be a member of a fancy fitness club or gymnasium. You can do it from the comfort of your own home, or your garage, or your basement, or if you desire – in your own back yard! With the expenses you would fork over for membership fees you can purchase a great set of resistance tubing, kettlebells, plyoballs, swissballs, weights, ab wheel, etc. Once again this list is endless and you are only limited by your desire.

Reason number one = an excuse.

Stay tuned for my next post where I discuss reason(excuse) number 2.

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