I hope everyone is having a great week! Things have been busy around here while I help my mom move. It is a bittersweet time. I am saying goodbye to my childhood home, but it is time for my mom to move on.
Anyways, today I wanted to talk about fitness and exercise when you are busy. A lot of my co-residents and friends would always ask me how I was able to fit in exercise as a resident (admittedly, I was terrible at working out as a medical student). In today’s modern life, we are all busy. As an OBGYN, I lead a pretty busy life — whether that was in residency or in medical school or as an attending! But even though we are busy, it is important to remember to take care of yourself, and exercising is extremely important when it comes to staying healthy.
Research has shown that exercise helps both with physical health AND mental health. When my dad died during residency, I found that one of the best ways to deal with my grief was by working out and being physically active. That’s not surprising, considering that exercise has been shown to work as well as an anti-depressant in some people. The problem is that a lot of times the last thing you want to do is work out when you get home after a 12-14 hour day in the hospital. But here are a few tips and tricks that I came up with that help me achieve my fitness goals.
- Be realistic. You probably aren’t going to be able to work out for 2 hours a day, every single day. Set tangible goals for yourself. Maybe start by working out 2 days a week, or even one day a week!
- Take rest days when you need them. Life has a way of beating you down. I always hated hearing the phrase “you’ll never regret a workout!” But let me tell you, there are times that I have certainly regretted a workout and wish I had just stayed in bed. Sometimes, sleep and rest are just more important, and that’s okay! If you really feel like you need to do something, maybe just stick to some gentle yoga that morning.
- Turn social events into opportunities to be active. Usually the default for getting together with someone is grabbing lunch, dinner, etc. But there are so many other things to do that don’t involve eating and can provide you with a chance to be active with your friend/significant other. For example go for a run/hike/bike/walk. Go to a yoga or group fitness class together.
- Check out YouTube! No chance to make it to a fitness class but need an instructor to keep you motivated? YouTube has LOTS of great fitness channels and videos. Whether you have just 5 minutes or an hour, there is a class for you. I’m not exaggerating when I say that YouTube was a game changer for me when it came to exercise! I try to work out at least 3x per week (although that does not always happen!). On days that I get home late, I try to do a 10-15 minute workout and if at that point I want to be done, I stop. Sometimes after completing 10 minutes, I find myself wanting to do more and so I keep going with more videos. But having that 10 minute end goal is less overwhelming than committing to a 45 minute workout. Mentally, it works for me. A few of my favorites include Fitnessblender, Tone it up, Love Sweat Fitness, PopSugar, The Balanced Life, and Yoga with Adriene. I’m sure there are a lot of others but these are the ones I use the most!
- Go for a run or start running! I have talked about running on a previous blog post, but it really is a great way to work out because all you need are shoes. The one thing I found difficult about running though was not having daylight before or after work — so that can be a limiting factor.
Let me know if any of these tips help you with your fitness goals!
Photo cred: Bruno Nascimento