Let’s face it…everyone has made the mistake of working out incorrectly and later paid for it with injuries and embarrassment. And as a busy nurse, you don’t exactly have the option to take a few “easy” days on the job to recuperate when you do get injured!
So we here at Scrubs are here to help our favorite nurses stay healthy. Check out these five ways you might be working out incorrectly (and how to adjust so you’re working out the right way!).
1. You’re using adductor and abductor machines to slim thighs.
People are so often seen using these two machines in a gym, yet they do nothing to help with what you are probably using them for in the first place! You’re more than likely using these machines to slim the upper thigh, for which these machines claim “muscles worked.”
The “muscles worked” are actually small muscles called the hip adductors and hip abductors. These muscles use very little energy, so burning thigh fat by working them is unlikely. You will firm up those tiny muscles; however, in order to lose thigh fat you must do intense strength training routines that target large muscle groups–for example, squats, leg presses, deadlifts and leg extensions (daily squats in the break room, perhaps?).
2. You’re arching your back when lifting.
As you probably already know from your nursing experience, this one is a big no-no. When you arch your back as you lift, you are putting too much pressure on your lower back, which can lead to pulled muscles and other issues. You need your back for lifting patients, so when you catch yourself arching your back, you need to A. lift lighter weights or B. work on toning up your abdominal muscles! That brings us to #3.
3. You’re performing a sit-up wrong.
You want abs under those scrubs, so you start a routine of sit-ups to get them. That’s great…but did you know that most people don’t actually perform a sit-up the right way? Many tend to get sloppy with them and that is why we suggest the ABCs of training your abs.
A. Alignment – Lay on your back, knees bent and your feet flat on the floor close to the hips. Your lower back should be flat on the floor. Place your hands on your temples, exhale and tighten your abs, then lift your head, neck and shoulders slightly off the ground. Release back down – that’s one!
B. Body Control – As you engage in a sit-up, try not to curve your back or move any other part of your body.
C. Consistency – Do sit-ups every OTHER day. Start with 10-12 for beginners, then build on that.
4. You’re not spending valuable time on warming up and stretching.
You’re a nurse and time is of the essence…so you may as well skip the “warm up” and head right into a good run after your 12-hour shift, right? Wrong! This can lead to injuries as you haven’t allowed your muscles to get ready. One way to warm up could be to stretch while you’re at work. Take a second while going up the stairs to stretch your calf muscles. Sitting at a desk finishing your charting? Put your arm over your head in an “L” shape and use your other arm to pull it slightly, causing tension in your triceps. Repeat on the other side.
5. You start out doing too much.
Just as a new car has a “break-in” time associated with it, your body does too…even though you’re already on your feet all day long in the hospital! Start out doing light weights and light cardio, then slowly start adding more weights and longer cardio sessions to your workouts. Getting in good healthy shape takes time…don’t start out doing too much too soon, as most of the time you will only hurt yourself, which causes further setbacks.