(This post contains affiliate links. You can find my disclosure page here.)
The benefits of green tea have been touted for decades. But I recently discovered a new shade of green tea that I’m pretty obsessed with called matcha.
I initially tried matcha green tea because I was tired of the caffeine highs and lows that I got with coffee. As a nurse and new mom who works 12 hour shifts in an emergency room I need caffeine, but coffee can be intense. So as an experiment, I decided to switch out my coffee habit entirely with matcha green tea for 30 days to see if I noticed any differences. (And by the way, this was a huge step for me, as I am a coffee addict and a coffee snob!).
I put my Kuerig in the pantry and set my electric kettle in its place. I didn’t want the temptation to brew my regular coffee in a moment of weakness.
And guess what? It has been several months and I’m still drinking a cup of matcha green tea every morning. I feel better when I drink matcha than I do coffee – and I can see a noticeable improvement in my skin as well!
What is Matcha Green Tea?
All green teas, matcha included, are derived from a plant called Camellia Sinensis. As opposed to regular green tea that comes in a tea bag, matcha is 100% green tea leaves that have been ground into a fine powder. That is why matcha is so concentrated and why you only need 1/2 teaspoon per cup!
In addition, matcha is higher in caffeine than
regular green tea so you don’t need to add more then 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per cup of tea. However, you can vary the amount of caffeine based on how much powder you add.
Matcha green tea offers many health benefits compared to coffee.
4 Reasons Nurses Should Drink Matcha Green Tea Instead Of Coffee:
#1. Matcha is healthier for you
Like other green teas, Matcha contains a type of antioxidants called catechins. It is specifically high in a type of catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is known to prevent cancer in the body. Many studies have linked green tea to a variety of health benefits such as weight loss, preventing heart disease and preventing type 2 diabetes.
As a nurse who practices evidence-based care, I know it is important to create healthy habits to help prevent illnesses in my future. Matcha is just another way for me to take better care of myself on the job.
#2. Matcha is high in vitamins
Compared to coffee, matcha scores significantly higher in nutrition. It contains vitamin A and C, iron, calcium, protein, and potassium. In addition, the high chlorophyll content in matcha also makes it an effective detoxifier that helps the body rid itself of toxins and heavy metals.
Coffee does not even compete with the nutrition that you get from matcha. By starting the day off on the right nutritional foot with a cup of matcha tea nurses can help meet their nutritional needs. Not to mention, many break rooms are fills with sweets like donuts and cookies. Adding a cup or two of matcha can help nurses get the nutritional fuel they need to continue giving great patient care.
#3. Matcha creates a sense of calm alertness and concentration
As opposed to the highs and lows that many people get with drinking coffee, matcha provides a less jittery caffeine high. That is because Matcha contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that helps your body to process caffeine differently than coffee. As a result, matcha contains much less caffeine than coffee yet has a more sustained energy boost, without the crash later on.
As front line workers in the hospital, nurses need to stay calm in stressful situations. Our patients lives depend on us to make critical decisions that effect their overall health and well-being. In addition, nurses need to be able to focus clearly, often for hours on end without breaks. A slip-up , such as a medication error, could be deadly.
#4. Matcha gives you whiter teeth
And better oral hygiene as well. Matcha has antibacterial properties that provide vital protection to the teeth, prevent plaque build up and improves oral health. On the other hand, coffee stains the teeth and causes bad breath – a major turn off for patients.
Most nurses I know don’t brush their teeth after drinking coffee or eating meals at work – even if they had the time. Drinking matcha helps eliminate coffee breath and keeps nurses’ oral hygiene healthy to boot.
What you need to make your own matcha green tea at home:
Making matcha green tea at home is an easy as making a pot of coffee. Just add 1/2 teaspoon matcha to 12 ounces hot water. Add sweetener and milk if desired. Enjoy!
(This post is not a substitution for medical care. Please consult with your physician before starting any exercise routine. This post also contains affiliate links. You can find my disclosure page here.)
7 Energizing Yoga Poses For Nurses
What do you think would happen if every nurse did an energizing 20 minute yoga routine before every shift?
Its likely nurses have a chance to clear their heads, connect with themselves, and give themselves a moment to prepare for the busy 12 hour shift ahead. Not a bad way to start off the day.
Many nurses may underestimate the physical and mental wear-and-tear of long shifts. The start the day fueled on cups of coffee and then they are not getting the rest and recovery they need afterward.
So, as nurses we must do the best we can to take care of ourselves the best we can (obviously no one else at the hospital is going to help up out with that). This includes giving our bodies the rest, rejuvenation and tender love that we give to our patients each shift! No more self-sacrificing attitudes!
Yoga is a fantastic way for nurses to reconnect with their bodies and make sure they are in a healthy and happy mental state – both before and after a nursing shift.
7 Energizing Yoga Poses For Nurses To Start The Shift Off Right:
#1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain Pose is a great yoga pose for nurses to start with in the morning. Ground your feet and press evenly through all four corners of each foot. Stretch your arms towards the floor and draw your abdominals in and up.
Hold for five to eight breaths to get focused and ready to move deeper into your practice.
Benefits of Mountain Pose for nurses:
Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles
Increases strength and mobility in the feet, legs, and hips
Firms abdomen and buttocks
#2. Upward Salute Pose (Urdhva Hastasana)
Upward Salute Pose
From Mountain Pose, lift your arms up overhead and press your palms firmly together. Keep the tops of your shoulders released away from your ears and activate your triceps. Keep the abdominals engaged and the legs firm.
Hold for five to eight breaths.
Benefits of Upward Salute Pose for nurses:
Stretches the sides of the body, spine, shoulders, and belly
Tones the thighs
Helps to relieve anxiety and fatigue.
Helps create space in the chest and lungs
#3. Cat-Cow Pose
Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your shins and knees hip-width apart. Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward.
Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
Repeat 5-20 times, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.
Benefits of Cat Cow Pose for nurses:
Brings flexibility to the spine
Stretches the back torso and neck
Softly stimulates and strengthens the abdominal organs
Open the chest, encouraging the breath to become slow and deep.
Calms the mind
Helps develop postural awareness and balance throughout the body and brings spine into correct alignment
#4. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho mukha svanasana)
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
From neutral Cat Cow pose, push your hips up into Downward-Facing Dog Pose.
Press firmly into your hands and roll your up arms outwards. Lengthen up through your torso and keep your abdominals engaged. Actively use your legs to keep bringing your torso back in space. Bend your knees if needed.
Hold here for eight to ten breaths.
Benefits of Downward-Facing Dog Pose for nurses:
Helps build bone density in the arms
Builds upper body strength
Helps to decrease back pain and stiffness.
Helps boost circulation by putting your heart above your head
#5. Warrior I (Virabhadra I)
Warrior I Pose
Step your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor (and parallel to each other), and reach your hands actively towards the ceiling. Firm your scapulas against your back and draw them down toward the coccyx.
Turn your left foot in 45 to 60 degrees to the right and your right foot out 90 degrees to the right. Align the right heel with the left heel. Rotate your torso to the right, squaring the front of your pelvis to the front of your mat. As the left hip point turns forward. Lengthen your coccyx toward the floor, and arch your upper torso back slightly.
Exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle so the shin is perpendicular to the floor Reach strongly through your arms, lifting the rib cage away from the pelvis.
Stay for 30 to 60 seconds and switch sides.
Benefits of Warrior I Pose for nurses:
Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck and belly
Strengthens your shoulders, arms, legs, ankles and back
Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles
Opens yours hips, chest and lungs.
Improves focus, balance and stability
Energizes the whole body
#6. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Forward Fold Pose
Stand in Mountain Pose with your hands on your hips. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso. Bend your elbows and hold on to each elbow with the opposite hand. Let the crown of your head hang down. Press your heels into the floor and lift your sit bones toward the ceiling. Turn the tops of your thighs slightly inward. Don’t lock your knees.
Engage your quadriceps and draw them up toward the ceiling. Bring your weight to the balls of your feet. Keep your hips aligned over your ankles. Let your head hang.
Hold the pose for up to one minute. To release, place your hands on your hips. Keep your back flat as you inhale and return to Mountain Pose. Repeat 2-5 times.
Benefits of Forward Fold for nurses:
Helps to relieve stress, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, mild depression, and insomnia
Stretches and lengthens your hamstrings and calves
Opens the hips and can relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.
#7. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s Pose is a beginner’s yoga pose often performed to rest between more difficult poses. The position stretches the thighs, hips and ankles and helps relax the body and mind.
Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. Rest your palms on top of your thighs.
On an exhale, lower your torso between your knees. Extend your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders toward the ground. Rest in the pose for as long as needed.
Benefits of Child’s Pose for Nurses:
Stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
Reduces stress and fatigue
Relaxes the muscles on the front of the body
Elongates the lower back
Calms the mind
Rests the body
Care for yourself first through yoga, then care better for patients afterwards.
Nurses must get into the practice of taking good care of themselves first, so they can continue to take great care of patients as well. After all, nurses serve as role models for our patients. If we don’t take our own health advice, why should our patients listen to us about anything else?
A good way to start is by practicing these energizing pre-shift yoga poses for nurses. And then see how much better you feel heading into your shifts!
Essential yoga props to start your yoga practice:
After 13 years of yoga practice and have tried many yoga props along the way. You don’t need much to get started. Here are a few of the yoga props I use at the studio and at home.
I love this yoga mat. The quality is very good for the price. I have this exact mat in my living room and after 2 years it still looks brand new. It is soft with a relatively nice thickness compared to other yoga mats I have tried. In addition, it has nice grooves that keep the mat in place.
Yoga straps are useful for all levels of yoga practice and can provide support, help with alignment and improve posture. In addition I love the Manduka cork yoga blocks because I have had mine for 6 years and they still look brand new! Unlike foam blocks, these don’t disintegrate over time due to sweat and regular use. They are also heavier and more sturdy with a trustworthy grip. It is a good idea to purchase 2 because many yoga poses require the need for two blocks.
(This post is about helpful ways that nurses can stay hydrated and may include affiliate links. You can find my disclosure page here).
Helpful tips for nurses to stay hydrated during 12 hour shifts
Hey nurses – how much water do do drink during a 12 hour shift?
If you are like most hard-working nurses, the answer is probably “not much.”
As nurses, we always encourage our patients to take the best possible care of themselves that they can. However, many nurses either forget or don’t have time during very intensive shifts. I asked several nurses recently what their water intake while they were at work and here is some of the feedback I got back:
“I try to remember to drink water but I always get so busy that I forget. By the time I remember I am so thirsty!”
“I chug water whenever I can remember to drink. Usually a few times a shift.”
“I almost always go home feeling so dehydrated because I do drink enough water during the day. Its hard because every day is so hectic!”
Many nurses don’t drink enough water during busy shifts. Nurse health matters too.
Water is important for nurse health.
It is no surprise that adequate amounts of fluid intake are vital to good health. Additionally, drinking enough water prevents dehydration – which can result in unclear thinking (a bad situation for nurses giving patient care).
According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), dehydration causes:
Decreased physical performance
And it sucks your energy and just makes you feel crummy
On the flip side, staying hydrated results in:
Better mental clarity
Better bowel movements
A happier mood
How much water should nurses drink during a 12 hour shift?
The Food And Nutrition Board set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water.
However, the reality is that a person’s size, activity level and medical needs among other factors will result in different fluid intake requirements for different people.
In addition, since many nurses are walking several miles and/or are on their feet for most of a single shift, I would consider nursing a very high activity level career. Therefore, it is possible that many nurses may require a higher fluid intake on days they work.
How do you know if you are staying hydrated?
Checking your urine is a good way to gauge dehydration. If you’re well-hydrated, your urine will be mostly clear and just slightly yellow. A darker yellow or amber color is a signal that you are not drinking enough fluids.
In addition, by the time you are feeling thirty, it is likely that you are already dehydrated. Thirst is a great body mechanism that prevent us from going too long without drinking water!
Keep yourself accountable by keeping a water bottle with you at work
6 Tips For Nurses To Reach Daily Water Goals
Drinking enough water can be difficult for busy nurses with 1000 things already on their plate. Especially since we are putting the needs of our patients lives first. With these easy tips you can reach your water goals in no time.
#1. Bring a seal-able lid water bottle to work with you every single day. Having a container within arms reach maximizes the chances that you are going to actually drink water when you think about it.
#2. Keep track of your fluid intake. This is easy when you use your own container as a gauge. Decide how many refills you want to drink every shift and stick to it. It makes staying hydrated a realistic goal.
#3. Drink 2 glasses of water as soon as you wake up. Drinking at least 16-24 oz of water first thing before a 12 hour shift will help set you up for success. By making great progress early in the day, hitting your water goals seems much more attainable.
#4. Eat your water. Fruits and vegetables are not only great break room snacks but they are loaded with water that contributes towards your total water intake for the day.
#5. Make your water more exciting. Infuse your water with chopped fruit, veggies and other herbs to make your water more exciting. Consider the following ideas:
Stir in a tablespoon of chia seeds for more Omega three’s
Lemon or lime slices
Fruits such as apples, blueberries or strawberries
A veggie such as cucumber slices
You can infuse your water at home and bring it to work with you
#6. Spice up your water. Consider drinking a few glasses of carbonated water in addition to your regular water. Bubbly water often tastes more refreshing then flat water and may encourage you to drink a little more. Have an expensive sparkling water habit like some nurses I work with? Consider buying a Sodastream and make your own bubbly water at home!
#7. Do a “water challenge” with your co-workers. Make your co-workers and yourself more accountable for drinking enough water during a shift by challenging each other to make it a priority! Set a goal for how many times you will fill up your water bottles throughout the day. Then, make it official by putting stickers on your water bottles and adding a check mark each time you fill them up. That way you are absolutely sure you are all drinking enough and staying hydrated!
A few great water bottle suggestions…
If you are working long nursing shifts then you need a water bottle to help you reach your water intake goals. When you always have your water bottle with you, hitting your water intake goals are so much more attainable.
Water is essential for staying hydrated, maintaining stamina and overall health and well-being. Nurse health is as important as our patient’s health and must be prioritized to prevent dehydration during busy hospital shifts.
How will you make sure you drink enough water as a nurse? If you are a nurse looking to find ways to take better care of yourself as a busy nurse join our email list!
(This post is about self care for nurses and may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more information.)
Written by Deborah Swanson at allheart.com.
Self care for nurses should not be an afterthought.
Holistic nurse self care: Are you really taking care of yourself?
While we often associate the concept of “self-care” with things like getting a massage or engaging in some retail therapy (new stethoscope, anyone?), taking care of yourself requires a much more comprehensive approach than just these occasional indulgences. A holistic approach to self-care acknowledges not only your physical health, but also your mental, spiritual and social health as well. Engaging in holistic self-care will help you become the best nurse that you can be and help you stay healthy for both yourself and your patients.
The World Health Organization defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote, maintain health, prevent disease and to cope with illness with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” A holistic approach to self-care encompasses several different components—including nutrition, lifestyle, environmental and socioeconomic factors—to make sure that you’re not neglecting any aspect of your wellness. Below, we break down each of these elements and explain how nurses can practice them in their daily lives.
Holistic self care for nurses
When it comes to self care for nurses, we often don’t practice what they preach. Nurses know that what we eat and drink are major contributing factors to health. While there are many diets and nutrition philosophies out there, the basics of eating healthy are quite simple. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins; don’t eat too many sugary and/or fatty foods; stay away from highly processed, packaged items as much as you can; and watch your portion sizes. Also seek out a variety of foods to make sure you’re getting all your nutrients.
As for what you drink, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary beverages such as soda and juice. When it comes to beverages such as caffeine and alcohol, consume them in moderation and give your body time to process each drink before downing another. Watch the calorie count on your liquids. Beverages can be surprisingly high in calories, sometimes even more than food of a comparable portion size, so check the label before slurping it down.
As for positive lifestyle choices you can make, exercising regularly and getting a mix of cardiovascular and strength-building workouts are really important for a healthy life. Getting enough sleep and maintaining a regular sleep schedule as much as possible are also good choices. Your lifestyle can also include your social and spiritual activity, such as spending time with supportive friends or engaging in a meaningful religious community—both of which can boost your mental health.
Running is a great fast and easy workout for busy nurses to fit into their schedules.
Environmental factors that affect your health are often overlooked, but incredibly important. Certain obvious examples come to mind such as exposure to air pollution, lead paint or other toxic substances. But this is far from the only way the environment impacts your health. Access to grocery stores (which sell produce and healthy foods) and public transportation (which encourages walking and mobility) are just two other instances where the environment can impact your health.
You won’t always be able to change your environment, but being aware of how it affects your health is the first step in self-care. And when you can take steps to improve your environment—such as reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals in your workplace—prioritize them and make them happen.
Socioeconomic status encompasses not just how much money you make, but also what level of education and financial security you have as well as your perceptions of your own social class. Low socioeconomic status negatively affects both physical and mental health in a variety of ways. For example, those with low socioeconomic status are not able to afford preventative care or cover the costs of a medical emergency. Financial insecurity also causes stress, which can lead to a variety of other health problems.
Even though it might not seem like traditional “self-care,” make sure you’re taking steps to get or stay financially healthy. Thankfully, the median annual salary for registered nurses in the US is $70,000, so hopefully you’re being fairly compensated—but smart management of your money is just as important as how much you make. Create a monthly budget, set aside money in savings from each paycheck and spend less than you make. Once you’ve got an emergency fund (3-6 months of living expenses), look into a 401k or other long-term savings plan.
While “self-care” is often used in a very narrow sense of the word, the concept is actually quite broad and requires a holistic approach to be truly successful. If you only pay attention to one or two aspects of your health but ignore the others, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice as a nurse and as a human being. You deserve to be in the best health possible, so make sure your approach to self-care covers all five components mentioned here.
About The Author
Deborah Swanson is a Coordinator for the Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com – a site dedicated to celebrating medical professionals and their journeys. She keeps busy by interviewing caregivers and writing about them and loves gardening.
P.S. HEY NURSES! Remember to sign up for our email list below and get a FREEBIE from us!
(This post may contain affiliate links. You can find my disclosure page here.)
Between my time working as a emergency room nurse and nurse mom blogger, I use technology almost constantly. In fact, both of my jobs would be impossible to do without them. It would be no understatement to say I am dependent on them.
However, after a particularity stressful year I did a little soul searching to see where I could add a little more intention in my life. And minimizing my use of social media seemed like a good place to start.
After all, I mindlessly check one or more of my social media accounts several times a day. And as a nurse and mom my mind is spinning with 1000’s of to-dos already. How hard could taking a social media break possibly be?
Now, this may seem counter-intuitive coming from a nurse blogger who uses social media for business. I’m not saying nurses should give up social media permanently. But it may be helpful for nurses to take a social media break once in a while because our brains are constantly flipping through patient care tasks.
I did a social media break challenge for one week.
My experiment started easily enough. But just like clockwork the minute I stopped paying attention my fingers automatically tried to pull up my Instagram or Facebook accounts. Apparently, my social media addiction was more ingrained than I thought.
My plan required increased preventative measures to ensure success. So I went a step further and deleted both the Instagram and Facebook apps off my phone. That way if I wanted to use the apps I would actually have to sign in via the internet and type in my password.
Wouldn’t you know, just the annoyance of having to type in my password was enough to remind me of why I had started this experiment in the first place. I successfully created a barrier to help reinforce my social media addition recovery! (Nurses are solution finders, what can I say!?).
Do you remember what it feels like to not be constantly looking at your phone?
3 Reasons Why A Social Media Break Is Healthy For Nurses
#1. It gives nurses an opportunity for more personal social engagement
A social media break can remind us to be more present with real people. Sadly, social media is often not a real representation of what is going on in people’s personal lives. It is a magnification of what people want you to see: slivers of primarily positive information that appears flawless, effortless and often like never-ending, spontaneous fun (don’t we all want to project the best parts of ourselves?).
#2. It can increase productivity in things that matter most.
To make my point on this I’m going to create a hypothetical, but totally realistic situation: Let’s say a nurse browses social media for 15 minutes a few times a day: once before getting out of bed, once during a break from work, a couple more times at lunch and then one more time before going to bed in the evening (for a lot of people I know, that is a conservative estimate).
Social media browsing may seem like a harmless habit. But if you add up the time over a seven day period you are talking about eight hours a week. Eight entire hours that you will never get back! That is the same amount of time that non-nurses spend at work during a normal workday. Mindless internet and social media browsing can kill off the equivalent of almost 1 workday per week if you allow it to.
#3. You may fall asleep earlier and have better overall sleep.
Cell phones emit bright blue light that is meant to stimulate the brain. By looking at a cell phone before bed it causes the brain to stop producing melatonin, which is the hormone that cues the brain that it’s time for slumber. As a result, smartphone light can disrupt the sleep cycle which makes it hard to fall and stay asleep.
Nurses already have to forfeit some sleep as part of the job, especially, mid-shift and night shift nurses. Interrupted or lack of quality sleep is linked to myriad health care related issues including many cancers, depression, and weight gain. In other words, better sleep = happy nurse.
Taking a social media break is a great way for nurses to give themselves a mental break.
We all need to chill out once in a while and let our minds wander. Let’s give our brains the space to do so. Living a life of intention requires making conscious changes to habits that appear harmless on the outside.
Are you a nurse in need of a social media break? What other habits do you have that are not serving you well?
HEY NURSES! Remember to sign up for your FREE COPY of “The Nurse’s Guide To Health & Self Care” E-book in the sign up box below! (scroll down)
This post for helping nurses find new quick and easy workouts that they can fit into even the busiest schedule.
Nurses know more then anyone that there are so many benefits to exercise. It helps our minds, bodies and souls because it:
Helps to control weight
Reduces the risk of heart disease
Manages blood sugar and insulin levels
Improves your mental health and mood
Strengthens your bones and muscles
Improves your sleep
And most importantly, it releases hormones that make you feel good!
But as a busy nurse, it can be so hard to find time to exercise, especially since the average workout class lasts about 60 minutes.
The good news is that there are lots of workouts that can easily be done at home on your own time whenever you have a few free minutes. Below are seven ideas that will help you squeeze in a quick & effective workout with minimal equipment and time.
So, take off your scrubs, put on your workout clothes and get moving!
7 Quick And Easy Workouts For Busy Nurses
Here are 7 quick and easy workouts for nurses to fit into their busy schedules:
Think you must to get to the gym and lift weights for an hour to get stronger? Think again! As the name implies, bodyweight exercises use your bodyweight to build strength, no equipment necessary. Bodyweight workouts can focus on the upper or lower body or combine them both for a total body workout.
You’ll do moves such as push-ups, squats, lunges and tricep dips that rely on your body weight and proper form to work your muscles. These moves either don’t require equipment at all or can be done using items around your house, such as a sturdy chair. Some people also like to use an exercise mat to provide a bit more cushion.
While running is often associated with training for a marathon or distance, it can also be a remarkably efficient workout for those who don’t want to spend hours exercising. Running for just 20 or 30 minutes will get your heart rate up and your blood pumping, and all it requires is a pair of supportive running shoes.
If the weather doesn’t permit you to run outside, see if you have access to a gym—even the smallest, most under-equipped workout room usually has at least one treadmill. And if you dislike the repetitive nature of running, create a music playlist or download a compelling podcast so you can get two things done at once as you move.
Plyometrics, also called jump training or plyo, is another form of an intense and efficient cardio workout. Exercises include the squat jump, tuck knee jump, lateral jump, power skipping, vertical jump, lunge jump and more. These explosive movements get your heart rate up and burn calories in a short amount of time.
A word of caution: The intensive nature of plyometrics means that this workout isn’t the best choice for everyone, especially those who have lower body or back issues or those who are new to working out. However, if you’re already in good cardiovascular shape—say, you’ve been running a lot and you’re looking for some variety—plyometrics is definitely worth checking out.
Boxing requires a lot of equipment. You need a punching bag, gloves, hand wraps and so on. Certain versions of kickboxing simplify this approach, allowing you to practice without all the equipment (sort of like shadowboxing). As the name suggests, kickboxing focuses on powerful kicks, with the hands and feet being used as the main contact points.
This karate-inflected style can be used as self-defense, but it’s also a very popular workout class both online and in real life. If you’d like to get out some aggression and stress while getting in a workout, simply Google “at home kickboxing workout videos” and plenty of results will pop up. You may feel a little silly punching and kicking the air at first, but you’ll be sweating in no time!
Aerobics is a catch-all term that refers to any activity that strengthens the heart and lungs, such as walking and swimming. Some aerobic exercises require a lot of time or equipment–or both—but plenty of others can be done at home whenever you have a few minutes. Lots of online cardio workouts fall into the aerobics category and they often have a theme such as step or dance.
Classes usually range in length from 10 to 60 minutes, so you can choose whatever suits your schedule. Make sure you check that no equipment is required before deciding on an aerobics workout. Some don’t require anything at all besides tennis shoes, while others may use a step-up box, light hand weights or other small equipment.
In their original form, very few ab workouts require weights or other equipment (though you might want to use an exercise mat to provide a bit of cushion and keep you from slipping during core work). From planks to crunches to sit-ups to leg lifts to toe touches to oblique twists, there are literally dozens of ab exercises you can do at home whenever you have a few minutes free in your schedule.
If you need some inspiration, there are lots of ab workout videos available for free on YouTube to get you started.
Body weight exercises are a fast and easy workout for busy nurses.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is more of an approach than a specific type of exercise. HIIT involves giving your maximum effort to exercise for a short period of time (usually less than a minute) followed by an even briefer rest period.
You may also have heard of Tabata, which is a specific type of HIIT workout that follows this pattern: eight rounds of 20 seconds of exercises at maximum effort and then 10 seconds of rest. HIIT can be used for bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, running—pretty much any workout you can think of. HIIT is a great way to shake up the pace of your workouts and increase their intensity and efficiency without eating up more of your precious time.
Now, its time to get moving!
If you’re a busy nurse who’s crunched for time (and really, who isn’t over scheduled these days?), check out one of these workouts to fit exercise into your day. Any workout is better than no workout, so even if you only have a few minutes, make them count!
HEY NURSES! Remember to sign up for your FREE COPY of “The Nurse’s Guide To Health & Self Care” E-book in the sign up box below! (scroll down)
Deborah Swanson is a Coordinator for the Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com, a site dedicated to celebrating medical professionals and their journeys. She keeps busy interviewing caregivers and writing about them and loves gardening