Travel Nurse Lifestyle: How to Stay Active and Fit
It doesn’t take years in the gym to be active and fit. Even 10 minutes of exercise can lift the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain to elevate your mood. Exercise can be one of the best parts of your day because of this, especially if you follow this simple guide to staying active and fit.
Choose an Activity That You Enjoy
This requires an honest assessment of yourself. Do you have a group of friends who love to run, but you hate it? Do you think that going to the gym is the only way to exercise, but you dread going? Adjust your thinking about what qualifies as exercise.
There are four types of exercise, here are some ideas for each:
- Endurance – jogging, dancing, yardwork
- Strength — lifting weights, calisthenics
- Balance — tai chi, standing on one foot
- Flexibility – yoga, leg stretches
Choose whichever exercise sounds like the most fun to you. If you know that you get bored easily, make a list of a few activities so you can alternate.
Establish a Habit
Approximately 40 percent of what we do each day is habit, but creating a new habit can be incredibly difficult for most people. To form a new habit, we need to rewire our brains. Meanwhile, our brains are built to resist this change and revert back. Thankfully, there are simple tips for establishing a habit, from Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits:
- Commit to five minutes a day, making it so easy and quick you can’t not do it.
- Time your activity to something that already happens in your daily routine. This activity will be your “trigger” to exercise. Will you exercise after you drink a cup of coffee? Maybe your walk home from work be your exercise.
- Enjoy! If you do it with others or alone, remember to smile and relax.
- Make yourself accountable. Exercise with a friend or join an exercise group online.
- If you miss a day, double down for the next. If you miss a second day, triple down for the next. Don’t let it get into a week of missed days, though, because it will be tougher to get back into the habit.
- Slowly add more time to your daily exercise routine. If you started at five minutes a day, bump it up to seven. Then bump it up to nine the next week. Take it slowly so it’s easy to do and you feel good doing it. Eventually, work up to 30 minutes a day and you’ll be meeting the recommended amount of daily exercise.
Reward yourself after you have exercised for a week or two. You deserve to be rewarded and, in fact, a reward will help you to maintain your exercise habit. Choose a healthy reward like a massage, manicure or pedicure, new workout clothes, or a new book.
Exercise Now, Thank Yourself Later
It’s widely known that exercise is important for happiness, especially for nurses. With long hours, stressful jobs, fluctuating schedules and being on your feet all day, it’s not surprising if exercise takes a lower priority. As a travel nurse, it’s even harder to fit in a workout with the time needed to explore the city, make new friends and get used to your new home.
The benefits of exercise outweigh the inconvenience, though, because exercise will make you happier overall, reduce stress and help you clear your mind. Something as simple as a 10-minute walk can make a difference in how you feel about yourself, your job and the world. Your task is to stay active and fit and your reward is a healthier, happier you.