No Excuses: How Physicians Can Find Time to Exercise

January 23, 2015

No matter how demanding your schedule is, it's critical to make time for working out. Here are some ways to find more time for exercise.

There's no denying that physicians have some of the most demanding, high pressure occupations. But that's no excuse for lack of exercise.

No matter how demanding your schedule is, it's critical to make time for working out. Creating free time for exercise can help you keep your life in balance and prevent burnout. Exercise can also help you be more energetic, alert, and ultimately more productive on the job.

Here are some ways you can squeeze in exercise, and maximize its effectiveness, no matter how busy your workday is:

• Morning or evening, a couple times around the block can provide 15 minutes or so of solid walking. When walking, swing your arms vigorously. Yes, it looks funny to others, but your cardiovascular system responds well to such activity. If you can raise your arms above your head and perhaps swing them as you walk, all the better. After all, orchestra conductors tend to live longer than the average man and woman. It’s postulated that all that time with the baton held high, hence having their arms above their heart level, briefly strengthens their heart muscle.

• Take a walk before and after each meal, even if it’s for a couple minutes. You’ll feel the difference, and soon enough, notice the difference. Walking after dinner can enable you to have more zest for the rest of the evening and surprisingly may help diminish your appetite.

• If you work in a high-rise building, take the stairs when you’re heading downward. Also, take the stairs if you’re only going up one floor or two. If you’re going more than two, feel free to take the elevator.

• Look for little ways all day long to engage in a few moments of exercise. For example, park your car a block or two away from a store you’re going to. If you’re in a mall parking lot, park at the far end of the lot and walk the two blocks to three blocks. If you use public transportation, get off the bus or subway one stop or a few blocks before you normally would, and walk the rest of the way.

• If you belong to or have access to a health club, then of course you have many fitness tools at your disposal. The treadmills and bike machines are great for warm-ups. In each case you can start at slow speeds. If the health club facility has mirrors along the walls, use them while you exercise because they help you maintain proper form. Mirrors may also prompt you to stay on a bike or other exercise machine longer, or do more repetitions of whatever it is you’re doing.

• If the health club facility has a sauna, steam-room, or whirlpool bath feel free to use them, but don’t overdo them. Prolonged stays in any of these can actually end up draining energy from you.