Staying active can be tough while traveling. On top of all your other duties as a travel nurse, it’s nice to be able to get the exercise you need to feel like yourself when you need it. With that in mind, here are 6 helpful tips for staying active as a nurse while you’re on your next travel assignment.
6 Tips on Staying Active as a Nurse during Your Next Travel Assignment
Tip #1: Investigate your options ahead of time.
As in most things in life, the first step in staying active as a nurse traveler is planning ahead. In other words, make sure ahead of time that you’ll be able to fit your favorite workout — or a good substitute — into your space and schedule during your next travel assignment.
If you’re someone who needs to hit the gym before every assignment, check to see whether the hotel you’re staying at has one — many do! But if it doesn’t, you’ll want to map out an available fitness center that you can easily work into your schedule.
The same goes with a pool if you’re a regular swimmer, or an outdoor trail if you’re a biker or hiker. In fact, the hotel, or apartment you stay in could depend on the availability of a workout space or pool, or even its proximity to a natural space, so this should be a very early first step when planning your next travel assignment!
Tip #2: Get set up for some in-room exercise.
In addition to a fitness center, pool, or outdoor workout zone — or maybe even instead of it — many people now get a pretty great workout in their living room (or hotel room) with YouTube videos and some easy-to-find accessories like an anaerobic stretch band and a yoga or workout mat.
If you’re new to the world of workout videos, a quick Google search can show you plenty of options available, of all types. Or if you’d rather get a curated list, check out “28 Free YouTube Fitness Channels to Keep You Moving” from Healthline, or this list of best workout videos from Good Housekeeping, which includes categories for cardio, yoga, Pilates, sculpting and more.
And for other simple exercises you can do in your hotel room, including single-leg squats and lunges, walking push-ups, and even a “luggage press” (!), check out One Medical’s list of hotel workout moves.
Tip #3: Leave room in your schedule to work out.
One of the biggest roadblocks to staying active as a nurse while on duty is simply not having the time. Like anything else in life, working out usually requires scheduling time for it — and then following through. This could mean some early mornings, so be ready!
Many hospitals and clinics encourage workers to take personal time for self-care, so don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor about their policy on wellness breaks. And don’t hesitate to schedule the time you have coming to you, to make sure you’re actually free to work out when you want to.
Tip #4: Join a yoga community or take Pilates classes.
The hospital you’re working at, or a nearby fitness center may offer the chance to join a yoga session or take Pilates classes. Or, they may offer more specialized activities or exercises like spin or martial arts.
For those who like structure in their workout, and an ordered environment, and the presence of others, these are great ways to stay in shape, wherever you go. And most communities have at least one spot where you can find them. In bigger cities, you’ll have many options. Simply Google “Pilates near me” or “yoga near me.” Or head over to Yelp and search for yoga or Pilates classes in the area you’re traveling.
Tip #5: Walk when you can.
Let’s face it — there isn’t always going to be time to work out as often as you’d like. And even if you are getting your full allotment of activity, you can extend those benefits even further by walking every time it’s possible.
“Research shows that individuals benefit by reaching a goal of 10,000 steps per day,” writes Mallory Hatmaker, MSN, BSN, CNP for the Cleveland Clinic. “Daily physical activity, including walking, can lower blood pressure and LDL (bad cholesterol), decrease the risk of many cancers and improve immune system function. For every hour a person walks, she or he adds an hour to her/his life!”
If your apartment and assignment are less than two miles away, consider walking there instead of driving. The same goes for local errands — walking to the grocery store or local café when you can helps you to burn calories and stay active. (It could save you some gas money, too!)
Tip #6: Spend more time biking than driving.
Of course, many folks prefer bicycling over walking. And traveling by bike is absolutely an option for nurses who drive to their assignment, or take the train there. For everyone else, there’s always the option of buying a new or used bike when you arrive. (It may even be included in a transportation stipend. Check with your recruiter!)
It isn’t always easy to fit a long bike ride into a busy day — or to walk the mile to work instead of driving. But you may be surprised at how good it feels when you try it, and how quickly it becomes part of your daily schedule.
Even if it’s just for the chance to spend 30 minutes outdoors every day, biking and walking within your community can quickly become one of the parts of the day that you most look forward to. And you just may find that driving less doesn’t just save you money on gas, but helps ease some stress, too.
More than Tips on Staying Active as a Nurse … a Full Career Partner
As the nation’s leading provider of nurse jobs, we at CareerStaff are proud to offer not just tips for staying active as a nurse traveler, but a full range of career tools to help you find the job that best meets your personal preferences and professional goals. You can always find more info about building a better nursing career at the CareerStaff blog, or in the nursing section of our website.
And if you’re in the market for a new travel nursing assignment, check out our travel job search page to see the many available opportunities we have, all across the United States.