With healthcare comes shift work and when it comes to exercise; finding time to prioritise or even find worse, the desire to exercise can be extremely difficult – meaning staying healthy can become really tough! But by successfully doing so, your life will change for the better.
In this blog post, we share the major benefits of exercising as a shift-worker and some top tips on how to successfully integrate exercise into a busy and demanding work-life – helping you staying healthy whilst working around the clock!
Why is it especially important for shift-workers to exercise?
It’s hugely important for every single human being to exercise; it’s the way our bodies function most efficiently and effectively! However, some argue it’s especially important for shift-workers to prioritise exercise because of their ever-changing, demanding and busy lifestyle.
So, exactly what are the benefits of exercising?
1. It will make you feel happier
Up first is happiness, an emotion that invokes feelings of calmness, peace and inspiration – but what activity is guaranteed to bring us happiness and keep you staying healthy? Exercise!
A career within healthcare can be an extremely-physically and emotionally-demanding job, so it’s only natural to occasionally feel emotions of depression, anxiety and stress. However, reports reveal that exercising improves your immediate mood by releasing endorphins and improving your long-term mood by releasing serotonin which both chemicals are known to produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain.
2. It will increase your energy levels
Contrary to popular belief, the more energy you use, the more your body will have available.
Although exercise may leave you feeling exhausted both in the moment and at the end of a brilliant workout… A couple of hours later your energy levels will have picked up and you’ll feel more energised. But what’s the evidence? The more active you are… The more mitochondria your body produces; the organelles that create chemical energy for your body to successfully function… So, the more you produce… the better!
3. Improves relaxation and sleep quality
As well as needing to be happy and energised on shift, it’s equally as important to a good amount of rest when you get the opportunity to – but how can you guarantee it will be good-quality?
As you know when you exercise, your body temperature raises a few degrees and then later that day, when your internal thermostat drops back to its normal range it can trigger feelings of drowsiness and helps you drift off to sleep with ease. Furthermore, if you opt for exercising outdoors, you’ll be exposed to natural light – which is an important element in helping your body to establish a good sleep-wake cycle.
A recent study found that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality – helping you recover from your shifts’ woes.
So, now that we’ve established that exercise has endless benefits – how can a shift-worker successfully implement it into their hectic-weekly schedule?
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
If you don’t plan, prepare and organise when you’re going to exercise – you never will. That means, if you’re truly serious about integrating exercise into your regime then on a Sunday night you need to work out which days you’ll be working out, what type of exercise, the location and most importantly, what you’ll need:
- Workout clothes
- Energising food (berries, smoothies, eggs to beans)
By making sure that you’ve got your exercise integrated into your normal weekly routine, when it comes to your workout hour post-shift, you won’t even need to think about it or worse, convince yourself to do it!
Quick tips to getting more exercise in
- Register at your local fitness centre, check their opening times suit your shift work
- Join a team to participate in a recreational sports, this is more of a fun way to get exercise
- Find a way to integrate exercise into your commute – park your car further away? Bike instead of drive?
- On your break, try and complete a brisk 30-minute walk (outdoors – extra health benefits)
- Invest in a fitness watch, studies have revealed that people who use them are generally more active than people who don’t