Getting A Move On: Physical Activity

Nursing and being active often go hand in hand. Many nurses spend long hours on their feet. They might be lifting patients or pushing heavy beds. Despite all that physical effort, however, many nurses aren’t getting the amounts and types of exercise they need.

Get a Move On: Physical Activity
Nursing and being active often go hand in hand. Many nurses spend long hours on their feet. They might be lifting patients or pushing heavy beds. Despite all that physical effort, however, many nurses aren’t getting the amounts and types of exercise they need.
 
In fact, according to the U.S. government’s Physical Activity Guidelines, adults age 18 and over should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. Yet only 56% of nurses meet those recommendations, according to the American Nurses Association’s 2016 Health Risk Appraisal. And less than half meet the national recommendation to perform muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days per week.
 
That lack of physical activity can take a toll on nurses’ overall health. Currently, 44% of nurses are overweight or obese, and more than a third have been diagnosed with hypertension. It doesn’t help that less than half of nurses have access to employer-based exercise facilities or programs. Along with lack of time, low motivation, and fatigue, many nurses cite cost as a barrier to being more active.
 
Making the Exercise Effort
Nurses know as well as anyone how important physical activity is to wellness. Regular exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It reduces stress, strengthens bones and muscles, improves mental health, contributes to a healthy weight, and boosts the odds of living longer. 
 
Plus, research has found that nurses who are physically active are more likely to encourage their patients to be active as well.
 
That’s why physical activity is a key component of the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ (HNHN) Grand Challenge, a social movement to transform the health of the nation by improving the health of the nation's 3.6 million registered nurses.
 
Together, individual nurses and their workplaces can take steps toward a healthier, more active lifestyle. And it all starts with a resolution.

 
Source List:
The American Nurses Association’s Health Risk Appraisal -- Exploratory Data Analysis, November 30, 2016
Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation: A synthesis of research regarding the status of nurses’ health in the United States, 2016. (White Paper)
https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter4.aspx
https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/

 
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Posted by Jaime M Dawson on Feb 10, 2017 1:26 PM CST

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I commit to increasing my activity throughout the day. 
  • Posted Sat 19 Aug 2017 08:57 AM CDT
This is an interesting topic for a lot of nurses. Unfortunately when you work 12 hour shifts, the next few days that you have off you are recovering from running around all day and it is so difficult to get yourself to the gym sometimes. I'm lucky to be able to have invested in work out equipment at home and just push through it the best that I can. I am also lucky to have started 5- 8 hour shifts, so I have more time throughout the day to work out. Hopefully more nurses will be able to fine the time or the energy for physical activity
  • Posted Sat 25 Feb 2017 08:12 PM CST
I am in the 56% of nurses that meet the PA recommendations. In order to achieve my PA goals, I have found it helpful to 1) make an appointment to meet with one or more people to engage in some activity and 2) identify what is the best time for me to carve out that time. For me and my companions, that happens to be early in the day. For others it might be later, or it might be to break it up throughout the day. But the most important is to make it a priority and get moving.
  • Posted Thu 23 Feb 2017 01:10 PM CST

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