How Nurses Can Maximize their Exercise Routine at Home

How Nurses Can Maximize their Exercise Routine at Home

Written by Kate Avery, RN

Nurses have been the most essential workers, with increasing stress and mental demands during these last few years. Finding an outlet and coping skills to help maintain mental health is imperative. Physical activity has been linked to improving anxiety, depression, and cognitive function. Home workout platforms are even more critical with gym closures and the need to isolate at home. Cycling is considered one of the best exercises for preventing cardiovascular disease. Not only is it excellent for your mental health, but it is also remarkable for your body. 

One of these major platforms is Peloton. I enjoy this platform due to the versatility that they offer. There is honestly something for everyone's taste. They offer yoga, meditation, strength, running and cycling classes. They also offer indoor and outdoor programs like guided runs and walks. If those choices are not enough for you and you miss the live experience you can take both live and group seasons with fellow platform followers who are exercising at the same time as you, giving you the feeling of community. I am part of the #pelotonRN group, and I can work out at the same time as fellow nurses. Having these courses available at your fingertips makes improving your health easy. 

When I finally jumped onto the Peloton train, I found a network of others who were just as obsessed as I was. Being a mother with small children and a nurse, time alone to focus and re-center is vital for me. I find that early morning workouts give me the best setup for my day. Staying on this routine has helped me increase my productivity at home, on my shifts, and as an NP student.

Those first few rides back on the bike made me realize how much I needed this, how much I thrived on this endorphin rush. I noticed a change when I missed workouts. So, I have made it a requirement to get up early and work out. And it doesn’t have to be a long workout to get me where I need to be. And, it doesn't have to be for long. Just showing up for myself has changed my physical and mental well-being. 

The Need for At-Home Platforms

With no access to gyms, the pandemic has pushed us to get creative in the way we work out. I use Peloton as an example due to its recent popularity, and my own obsession. In September of 2020, Peloton had more than one million subscribers. During the pandemic, their sales increased by over 172%. These growth numbers clearly show the need for at-home stimulation through exercise using fitness platforms. On top of that, ER visits for mental health problems have increased due to social isolation, economic, and health stressors. This explains the excessive growth of at-home platforms, and the need for physical and mental help that can be achieved by using them. Nursing has suffered the most from the emotional and mental stress these last few years have caused. At-home platforms like Peloton can help decrease the effects of these stressors on our population. This platform in particular really gives back the sense of community. With the use of leader boards, working out with those who are taking the class right now, and high fives to each other, you will feel like you're still in the gym with your friends. The use of meditation, yoga, and cardio exercise can reduce the stress and anxiety caused by our current world. 

How have these finds helped a fellow nurse?

So how do we keep ourselves motivated and maintain clarity in this stressful new world we find ourselves in? Physical exercise can prevent and improve many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, depression, hypertension, and diabetes. In short, there is no downside to exercise when encouraged by your medical provider. 

Cycling is a widespread form of rehabilitation for cardiovascular incidences and stroke recovery. In a recent research study, E-bikes, such as Peloton, were shown to have helped improve health outcomes in stroke patients during the pandemic. Results from this study showed impressive exercise compliance in patients who may not have had this level of health success otherwise—thus demonstrating that availability and convenience are essential components to starting a successful exercise routine. 

As a fellow nurse, I know how hard it is to put ourselves first. We often go 12 hours without a full meal, a bathroom break, or a sip of water at times. Putting our health first needs to be convenient and available to us at all times. I have found using the at-home platforms has helped me start the day by doing something good for me. Then, I am able to give the high level of care that my patients need. I realized that the care I give in my day had to start with me.

Experience the Benefits

I have been a Peloton bike owner for over a year. From personal experience, riding and taking courses on the platform feels like an addiction. (In a good way!) One ride is all it takes to entice you into a daily routine. Being a mother of three little ones and enrolled in an NP doctorate program leaves me with very little time for myself. I love using this platform to help me find balance. The workouts range from all different experience levels and timed exercises. I have used these home workouts to save me time and be home more with my family, while improving my mental and physical health with exercise. 

Honestly, the amount of energy and motivation these coaches put into the world is fantastic. I have found a form of therapy through cycling—the endorphins from physical exercise and the motivation to conquer the world from the instructors' pep talks make Peloton a priceless asset for us busy nurses that you can use to improve your health and mental well-being while at home. 

References 

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/11/business/peloton-stock-earnings/index.html

http://clok.uclan.ac.uk/34666/

https://www.onepeloton.com/financing?utm_campaign=26625333&utm_content=315653833&utm_medium=search&utm_source=google_search&gclid=CjwKCAiA_omPBhBBEiwAcg7smdeYKojTNhCfKvbCh7MqtDzmKKmZkbjUpvTOtduFRQhcOaY7IF_NMRoCs1QQAvD_BwE

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2775991

https://www.cmaj.ca/content/174/6/801.short

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01299.x

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/#:~:text=Exercise%20improves%20mental%20health%20by,self%2Desteem%20and%20cognitive%20function.&text=Exercise%20has%20also%20been%20found,self%2Desteem%20and%20social%20withdrawal

About the Author:

My name is Kate Avery, and I own Avery Content Services LLC. I am also a wife, mother to three crazy kids, nurse, and NP student. My life is messy, but I live and love my way through it and am manifesting what I know I can achieve. For more information about my services, please visit averycontentservices.com.


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