It is hard to believe that summer is over and we are already a month into fall! This time of year presents the perfect time to rev up, change up and get the most out of your fitness routines both in and out of the gym! Here are my top 8 tips for ‘fall fitness’ that even nurses with no time for exercise can incorporate to their daily routine. Pick a couple to start with and then include each of these small changes one or two at a time. It will not be long until you begin to see the healthy results. My favorite ‘out of the gym’ tip is 'Walk More'!
Out of the Gym
1. Sleep More
How much shut eye do you get? As a nurse, you are probably struggling to get at least 5 hours of sleep a day. Not good. This is the amount of sleep the Mayo Clinic Recommends you get each night: infants, 14 to 15 hours; toddlers, 12 to 14 hours; school age children, 10 to 11 hours and adults, 7 to 9 hours. Budget your time to allow at least 8 hours of sleep everyday.
2. Walk More
Walking is a great way to burn extra calories every day. While working in a hospital shift, many nurses walk an average of four miles a day! Grab a pedometer and find out just how much you really walk; then aim for 5 miles or 10,000 steps per day. Keep in mind the average 150 pound person will burn approximately 200 calories for every 30 minutes of moderate walking. That quickly adds up to be a little under ½ pound per week or about 20 pounds per year!
3. Know what you are eating
Hungry after a deadly shift? Don't just grab a bite of any food you get! Journal your meals and snacks for a few days. Keep track of calories, portion sizes and the nutritional information especially for protein, carbohydrates and fats. The standard daily recommendations from the ADA are: Protein – 15%; Carbohydrates – 55% to 60% and Fat – 25% to 30%.
4. Stay Hydrated
As the weather turns cooler it is just as important for you to stay hydrated as it was during the hot summer months not only when you are exercising but throughout your day as well! An easy way to judge how much water you should be drinking on a daily bases is to divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces. So if you weigh 150 pounds you should be drinking 75 ounces of water every day.
In the Gym
5. Revisit your Fitness Goal
Nurses work on a challenging environment that doesn't support self-care buut you GOT to take a couple of minutes and really focus on what you want to achieve with your body; is it losing weight, building muscle, getting healthy or simply living a fitter healthier life. Then be sure your fitness routine matches that goal.
6. Change up your Cardio Routine
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week. Fall is the perfect time for a change to your routine. Try a new machine or a class you have never taken. If you have always wanted to give a new sport during day offs a try – Go for it! You will be amazed at the results you get from the change in your physical activity!
7. Increase the Intensity of your Strength Training
An easy way to know when to increase your weights is if you can easily complete 2 or more reps in your final set. For example; if you normally do 3 sets of 10 reps, see if you can complete 12 reps using proper form on your 3rd set, if so up your weigh and get better results!
8. Get Outside
Fall weather is simply perfect for exercising outside and studies show time and time again that you tend to exercise harder and burn more calories when you are outside! Do this before or after a shift. Remember to stay hydrated, dress appropriately for the temperature & always wear sunscreen! Give this Fall Circuit a try for your next cardio workout – all you need is a Hill!