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Exercise Routine for Nurses?

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Hi all,

I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I am very inactive and hoping to start working as an RN soon, but I would like to get my body moving again before I start working. I know that my lack of activity leaves me open to injury (especially my back as I've had this problem before)... I tried finding exercises that would be good specifically for nurses but all I find is tips on how to fit it in when working 12 hr shifts.

Does anyone out there have any exercise routine they you do to keep your body strong enough to prevent injury? I want to create a simple routine that I can do every day or two, in addition to walking, so that I can try and protect my back. So far, I have 2 exercises that physio gave me when I saw them over a year ago:

- sit to stand (using legs, not back)

- laying on side, bending knees, and then lifting knee (both sides)

Anyone have any suggestions for me? I'd really appreciate any advice.

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moved to the breakroom......weight and health tips...for improved response.....remember you may have to re-log in with the same password to enter the breakroom.

Happy Holidays!!!

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Thank you, didn't know about this Breakroom :P Happy Christmas!!

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look these up:

planking

Supermans

Both of those will strengthen your back and your abs. The key is a strong core all the way around, because balanced strength in all those muscles is what really protects you. Those teamed up with your basic boring crunch can do a lot.

Also, start doing pushups, because they build your upper body strength faster and more effectively than anything else. If you start with pushups on your knees, only allow yourself a couple weeks at that level before you move up to doing them on your toes. If you don't force yourself to do it, you just never will. At least do the first one on your toes before dropping to your knees. The next week, make yourself do the first two, then next week the first three... and so on. On your knees you're only lifting 60% of your bodyweight, and on your toes, you are lifting 85% of your bodyweight. If you think you can't do it, I got from being nearly 200 pounds and unable to do even one pushup, to now where I am under 160 and can do 50-60 in sets of ten. I don't know if they would pass military spec, but they tire me out.

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It's not so much excercise that is most important in preventing back injury (although it certainly helps), it's proper form/body mechanics. Lift with your knees, never be in a position where you are using your lower back to lift something heavy, you want to use your legs or arms. You should be able to youtube proper body mechanics to give you a better idea. Unfortunately in nursing, we are often put in a position where it is difficult to use proper body mechanics, such as when pulling someone up in a bed. Make sure to stand up straight and use your arms and upper back strength unstead of leaning over and where you put to much strain on your lower back.

Excercise will help give you the strength to lift heavier things, more endurance/energy, weight bearing excercises such as weight lifting will help prevent bone loss as you age (very important for women) and stretching will help keep your joints flexible and keep your muscles from getting tight. Not to mention the added benefit to your impression of your body image!

I have a friend who works night shift in the ER, and he always makes time before his shift to get his workout in. He says it makes him fill so much better while at work...he has more energy and his body isn't stiff and tight, and he notices a big difference if he misses a gym day. He says that he would always be too exhausted to go after work.

Workouts don't have to be complicated, although you need to do your research to make sure you are getting the most benefit. Your workout needs to include cardio, stretching and weight bearing. 30 to 45 minutes per day, atleast 5 days a week of cardio, which can be elliptical or walking on the treadmill. With cardio you basically want to get your heart and respiratory rate up, and this can be done with simply walking at a good pace. If you can carry on a gossip fest with your buddy on the treadmill next to you, then you aren't walking fast enough!

Either before or after cardio you want to do weights. Each week you want to work shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps, back (upper and lower), calves, quads, hams and glutes. These should be worked using proper body mechanics to prevent injury, enough weight so as to actually build muscle/tone and must be rotated in order to allow the muscle to repair itself and not be overworked. You can find a wealth of myths and facts and "how to articles" for women weight lifting on the net.

For example, in order to get all of these muscle groups worked in a week, I work back and biceps one day, chest and tri's the next, then legs which include hams, quads, calves and glutes then shoulders and abs. You need to give each muscle group you work atleast 24-48hrs off so they can repair. Be sure to warm up each muslce group and slowly add weight. Don't be afraid to build up to some good weight, you will see a big difference in the mirror! I know I have...a fuller chest, toned arms with no more flabby under arm when I wave, tighter thighs and bootie.

Also, very important, don't forget to include core excercises like the plank and variations on the sit-up. Your core is very important when it comes to the giving strength and support to your back!

Hope this helps!

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Hello!

I've read your post and some of the replies you've gotten from others and I believe most of this to be great advise. I also think it's awesome that you are aware of the association of being out of shape and an increased risk for injury. I think I may be of some help here:

An important thing to remember is that in nursing you aren't doing the same body motions as

you would in a gym. Mostly in nursing you are moving human bodies, where the weight is unevenly distributed. In a gym, however, the weights are mostly even and this poses far less risk for hurting yourself. That being said, proper body mechanics (i.e. lift with legs not back, raise the bed to waist level when boosting etc., use your hips to transfer weight not lift it) are as; if not more important than physical conditioning!

This is not to say however that physical conditioning isn't important with regards to nursing or any other job that requires the constant use of your muscles. Here are a few things I would recommend regarding what you've asked about...

1. Take it slow at first and eat right! Wouldn't make much sense to injure yourself while trying to improve yourself:) We all know that eating the right foods helps your body build new muscle after a workout so eat a balanced diet.

2. Focus on your core muscles (lower back and abs). Different forms of sit-ups, hyperextensions, and making it a point to do all of your excersises while standing instead of sitting down will certainly help. Stay away from machines; in my opinion they actually make you more prone to injury because they allow your stabalizing muscles to do less work - and these are the very muscles that can stop you from injuring yourself. They are critically important!

3. Although your core is important, more importantly (I believe) is that you train your entire body every time you work out. By doing this, you will ensure that you don't end up with defecits like a strong upper body and weak lower body, or even worse, a strong abdomen with a weak lower back or vise versa. This will increase the risks of chronic back pain and an early retirement.

If you need more than this you can message me. Hope this helps!

Hi all,

I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I am very inactive and hoping to start working as an RN soon, but I would like to get my body moving again before I start working. I know that my lack of activity leaves me open to injury (especially my back as I've had this problem before)... I tried finding exercises that would be good specifically for nurses but all I find is tips on how to fit it in when working 12 hr shifts.

Does anyone out there have any exercise routine they you do to keep your body strong enough to prevent injury? I want to create a simple routine that I can do every day or two, in addition to walking, so that I can try and protect my back. So far, I have 2 exercises that physio gave me when I saw them over a year ago:

- sit to stand (using legs, not back)

- laying on side, bending knees, and then lifting knee (both sides)

Anyone have any suggestions for me? I'd really appreciate any advice.

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Exercises to Minimize or Prevent Back Pain -- http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/backpain/a/BackPainEx.htm

These are fast and easy to do.

I've done similar for years. After 40 years of nursing I'm lucky to have never hurt my back. I say lucky because I've used poor body mechanics a few times. Once a patient went into asystoly on the commode and I lifted her to the bed. She survived the code and by sheer luck my back was OK.

I like the gym, I feel like a kid at the playground. There is always something new to keep it interesting.

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3. Although your core is important, more importantly (I believe) is that you train your entire body every time you work out. By doing this, you will ensure that you don't end up with defecits like a strong upper body and weak lower body, or even worse, a strong abdomen with a weak lower back or vise versa. QUOTE]

Although you offered some great advice I just wanted to comment:

It is not necessary to work your entire body every time you work out, that can actually be detrimental to your progress in the gym. By working out your entire body at one visit you will need to spend a lot more time in the gym at each visit, which is not very good time management when you are working shifts and have a family, and on top of that being that it isn't even necessary. Additionally, you can still end up not evenly working your body depending on how you plan that mega workout, for example, if you work your larger muscles first you will be too exhausted to give the smaller muscles some attention and vice versa. I learned this through trial and error, when I would work my triceps with too much weight and then try and do chest and my chest wouldn't get the attention it deserved. Also, you can become worn out and either not be able to finish your routine, or not maintain the same level of intesity throughout, also leading you to not evenly focus on each muscle group.

Do you ever see bodybuilders go to the gym and work their entire bodies? Not going to happen. And, yes, I know, you don't want to be a titan, but muscle building is muscle building, whether you are a woman wanting to tone or someone preparing to take the stage for Mr Olympia.

When you do a full body workout you are going to exhaust yourself and you will have to give yourself atleast 48hrs off to allow your body to recoup and for your muscles to repair themselves. It is better to split up the muscle groups and combine them with cardio in order to limit the amount of time you have to spend in the gym, keep from exhausting yourself and to be sure you get a well rounded work out. Otherwise you are going to hit a wall and just give up when you wear yourself down.

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