As if standing on your feet for hours a day and saving lives wasn’t enough exercise! However, according to a study conducted by the University of Maryland, an overwhelming 55% of nurses are overweight or obese. How can this statistic be explained given that nursing is an active job and that nurses are conscientious of health issues? Maybe it’s the compulsive, quick-fix eating that the night shift causes? Perhaps it’s the unhealthy options in the hospital cafeteria or lack of time in the mornings to prepare a meal to bring into work. Or what about the fact that nurses are dead tired after their 12 hour shift and the gym is the LAST thing on their mind? Well, for whatever reason, this phenomenon exists, and we want to help you avoid becoming a statistic.
These exercises are perfect for building a strong core, which improves overall body strength and promotes more controlled movements. Nurses will love these simple at home minute exercises that requires no equipment other than your body (and maybe a nearby towel)!
- First: loosen up. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. From there, lean forward, grabbing opposite elbows. As you let your head hang, visualize moving your ribs closer to your thighs with each exhale. After stretching in the center for one minute, move your upper-body to the right for 15 seconds, come back to the center for 15 seconds, and then move your upper-body to the left for 15 seconds. Once you have returned to the center, slowly scoop your belly inward and peel up from your spine while visualizing yourself coming up one vertebrae at a time.
- Plie squat with different torso exercises: To start, spread your legs about 2.5-3 feet apart and do a plie squat. This is important: do NOT let your legs move, wobble, or come out of this position. Staying stationary in your lower body is imperative while you move your upper-body to build core.
- Extend your arms all the way out to the side and bring them forward until they are fully extended in front of you. Avoid muscle strain by remembering to keep your shoulders out of your ear, as well melting your shoulder blades back and down. Do this motion for one minute. Add cardio by increasing the frequency of your movements.
- Continue to hold the stance in your lower body wile interlacing your fingers at chest level. Move from side to side using your obliques for 1 minute.
- Now, remove your hands from that grip and punch directly in front of you using your obliques (as if you were hitting a punching bag).
- Drop from the plie squat to a full arm plank. You can either:
- Hold the plank for a minute.
- Sprint using your legs by bending your knee to your chest. Keep your hips down and engage your thighs and butt to stabilize your body.
- Push up into downward dog for 30 seconds, or just stand up and take a breather.
- Sit down into what is called a “C” frame.
- Grab underneath your knees after sitting upright. Your legs should be partially extended and have a 90 degree bend in them. Once your hands are underneath your knees, lean back until your arms are fully extended. Now, release your arms while keeping your legs in place by squeezing your inner thighs. At this point, you should feel a slight burn in your lower abdomen. Grab a 5 pound weight and do Russian twists with your torso while your lower body continues to stay still. This will help tone your obliques.
- To really work your core, maintain this seated position in the C-frame. Now, put your arms out in front of you, facing forward, with your palms on the ground. Lift one leg up at a time approximately an inch or two off the ground. Keep the leg straight and extended with your foot flexed. Raise your leg and then lower it. Now, with the same leg, you will bend your knee (which engages your hip flexor) and bring your knee towards your chest. After, put your leg back on the floor so you are in the neutral C-frame, and repeat this exercise 10 times, alternating legs.
Try this work out and see what you think! Once it becomes less of a challenge, repeat each set! We hope you’ll notice the benefits of a strengthened core and looser hamstrings! It will make a world of a difference in your health.