How To Stay Fit On A Travel Nursing Job
When you take a travel nursing job, most likely you’ll be in a new location, breaking your normal routine which can make it hard to stay fit. There’s the temptation to sample all that good food in new restaurants, enjoy social gatherings with new co-workers that include eating, eating and more eating, not to mention nightlife and drinking, that can cause even the most disciplined travel nurse to end up out of shape and overweight.
To avoid those excess pounds and keep your energy levels up, consider these tried and true ways for staying fit while you’re on your travel assignment.
Commit to regular workouts
If you don’t make a commitment to yourself to keep up regular exercise, more than likely you’ll end up making excuses, and before long that good habit you developed before leaving home is out the window. Instead, pencil those workouts into your calendar, ideally 30 to 60 minutes each day. If that’s too much to squeeze in, remember that it’s okay to break it up into 10 to 15 minute periods at a time if you need to. Even the little things count, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further from the building to get extra steps in, walking around the facility grounds or the halls during your breaks, and so on.
To make it easier, keep your favorite workout clothes and shoes in a bag with you, so you’ll have access whenever you’re able to make time.
If you have a gym membership at home, check to see if they have a location in your new city. If not, you may want to call around to fitness centers in the area your travel assignment is located in to find out if they offer short-term memberships. Another option is to check with the hospital or facility you’ll be working at as many, particularly larger facilities, have onsite fitness centers. If you’ll be living in an apartment complex, there may be a gym onsite there as well.
Plan outdoor adventures
Find out what if any outdoor adventures are available in your new destination and plan to take part in your off time. From hiking and biking to kayaking and more, there’s bound to be physical activities you can take part in that will make exercise more fun. You may even find a local club or group to join, such as Meetups, which will allow you to make new like-minded friends and exercise at the same time. Many areas have hiking, biking, running, dancing and other active groups, and joining on is a good way to stay motivated to keep fit.
Bring a portable DVD player and workout DVDs
Portable DVD players are fairly cheap these days and workout DVDs can often be found at a low cost too – check the local library, online on sites like eBay and Amazon, and you may end up scoring a deal for a bundle of used and sometimes even new exercise DVDs too. They make it easy to fit in a workout wherever you happen to be.
Don’t skimp on sleep
It can be easy to skimp on sleep between working and all the fun things there are to see and do in a new city, but a lack of sleep can actually lead to weight gain as it’s been shown to increase appetite the next day as well as wreak havoc on hormones, not to mention making it difficult to concentrate on the job. Aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night as often as you can. If you’re having trouble, try doing some deep breathing exercises or practicing meditation just before bedtime, taking a warm bath, wearing an eye mask and earplugs to block out light and noise, to make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Limit your alcohol intake
No matter what type of healthcare traveler you are, your new colleagues are likely to invite you to lots of social events, and oftentimes those gatherings include alcohol, making it easy to overindulge. Not only do those beverages contain lots of calories, they can make it harder to resist unhealthy foods that you wouldn’t eat normally. Limit yourself to a drink or two at most, spacing them out by sipping lots of water in between.