by Sheila Giffen, MD, Saint Alphonsus Provider Resiliency Medical Director
There are barriers to regular exercise, but I think we were meant to exercise. If we look back, naturally, we walked probably 10 to 20 miles a day. There have been many proven benefits to exercise and we all know this because we are medical providers and we talk to and counsel our patients about it. Many of us may have seen the images of a brain before exercise and a brain after 10 to 20 minutes of exercise. It shows this huge increase in activity, so we know it is beneficial.
The busier we get, the harder it is to practice so I’d like to share a couple of tricks that I have used. One thing I do pack an extra bag that I has extra exercise clothes. That way I can exercise for 10 to 15 minutes when I may have to take a kid somewhere. Or I will take a walk around the hospital if I need to during a lunch break. I will wear exercise clothes under work clothes, sometimes, so that if I have 10 to 15 minutes before or after, I can do that. I often take the stairs instead of the elevator. Just simple things.
Working through those barriers is helpful and you must communicate with those in your life if you have other obligations, a spouse or a partner, or family members. You must write it into the schedule. What I found is that my husband and I had to communicate when that was going to be, had to plan, and had to put that on the calendar, to see if we could get that in.
Exercise shouldn't have to be stressful, we should make it a fun thing, and using as many different modalities as we can to exercise is helpful. Also, we have to be kind to ourselves because we don’t want to make it just one more thing we have to do that causes us stress. It must be fun.