As a medical student life can get very busy, juggling classes, clinics, seeing patients and fitting in essentials like sleep and a social life to keep sane! As the workload piles up, exercise is usually the last thing on our minds, but it’s crucial that we keep active for our physical and mental wellbeing. Some seek solace in the gym, team sports or cycling, but others find it difficult to slot exercise into their hectic schedules.
This is where “incidental exercise” can help you out – things that are already part of your daily routine, which you can extend to get an extra workout on the go.
Here are some suggestions for incidental exercise in the busy life of a medical student, or for anyone struggling to get their recommended 30 minutes a day! (Adapted from Lazy Girl Fitness: “11 Easy Ways to Add Incidental Exercise to Your Life”
· Getting off the bus two stops early: Public transport can be a pain, especially in peak hour when the bus seems to move slower than the people walking. Well how about joining those people and walking? As your fitness increases, start getting off earlier and earlier – you’ll notice a big difference in your energy levels as the day goes on!
· Park further – for drivers out there, try the same kind of thing by parking further and further away from the hospital/classroom.
· Stretch while watching TV – one hour of stretching in front of the telly has the same benefits of a gentle yoga class, can burn fat and leave you feeling refreshed.
· Take the stairs – next time you’re moving between floors on a ward round, stop waiting ages for the lifts and take the stairs instead! It will save you time and keep you active (a win-win situation).
· Socialise on your feet – we all (and need) our coffee, but next time you plan to meet up with a friend at the usual café, why not take a coffee to go and take a walk in the park together instead?
· Do the ironing – it burns fat whilst keeping your clothes looking in tiptop shape.
· Phone calls – next time you’re talking or texting, try pacing around or doing things around the house at the same time.
· Take advantage of ads – try doing 10 push ups, 10 sit ups and 10 squats each time your favourite show is interrupted by Rhonda from AAMI or the latest German car.
· Stand more often – unless you’re in a lecture where it would be super weird, take every opportunity to stand and move around instead of sitting down all day.
· Lifting groceries – instead of battling supermarket trolleys with minds of their own, try using a shopping basket or two to lift your shopping and give those arms a workout.
There’s my two cents, just to show that there are many ways you can add exercise into your busy lives without having to commit to a yearlong membership at Fitness First! I urge you all to find ways of keeping active that work for you.