By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert
Exercise and fitness are experiencing a huge resurgence in popular culture. Thanks to technology breakthroughs and the expansion of gyms and fitness programs, we find ourselves exposed to it every day. And I think that’s a good thing. Obesity is a major problem in our society, after all, and as nurses we see and deal with the consequences of it on a daily basis.
Personal fitness can help us feel better and do our jobs better, but it can be challenging for travel nurses and even vacationing nurses to achieve when they are on the road. So if you’re interested in working out like I am, here are my top three ways to stay in shape while traveling:
1. Run. I enjoy running; not only can it help you explore your new neighborhood, but running is a cheap sport. Shoes and clothes are all you really need, and you probably have something suitable already. So add an iPod or smartphone with music, and you’re set to go. With all the map apps and websites available, you can find routes near you, no matter where you are!
2. Join a gym. You can try national chains; let them know about your travel situation when you ask about membership. They may let you transfer your membership from place to place, or use the facilities in different locations. Most of the big chains probably have a gym near you. CrossFit has also become extremely popular, and the locally-owned gyms usually have start-up, low cost options and multiple class times. Some local gyms in your assignment locations may have month-to-month memberships that you can try, as well.
3. Try a home gym. This can differ from place to place; as a traveler, I always had an apartment with some sort of gym. Not all apartment and hotel gyms are created equal, however, so you do need an alternative (see option 1 above). I also believe in home workouts when you can’t make it to the gym. I use a kettle bell, which is cheap and easy to pack in the car. And so many lifts can be done using body weight and are amazing workouts if you do them right: push-ups, pull-ups and squats, to name a few. Then there is the TV/video option. Many home workout tapes actually work, so investing in one might be a good idea when you’re on the road.
Overall, moderation is key. I used all the options listed above and they kept my fitness routine well-rounded. I also found that making exercise part of your day—kind of like brushing your teeth—forces you to get out there and do it even when you don’t want to. Finding someone to exercise with you and hold you accountable can really help, too, and it’s a great way to meet new people while traveling.
So lace up those running shoes and go for it. Then call your recruiter and look for an awesome place to go on assignment later this summer or fall. There are plenty more trails and adventures to discover.