Regular physical activity and healthy eating habits produce many benefits: Reducing the risk of chronic disease, improving mental and emotional health, boosting energy, lowering stress, and improving sleep. For healthcare professionals, staying fit is key to handling the strain of their work responsibilities and maintaining their overall well-being.
As with any change of routine, it can be difficult to stay fit while traveling for locum tenens. Clinicians may find it difficult to eat healthily or work out while on the road, as they are managing a new environment and different professional duties. Here are a few tips you can use to stay fit while traveling for locum tenens.
1. Drink Tons of Water
Whether you’re traveling to a new location or busy caring for patients, drinking enough water may not be a priority. However, staying hydrated is crucial to health and well-being, especially considering our bodies are composed of 60% water.
Drinking water supports many critical bodily functions - like digestion, kidney function, and even brain function - but it can also help to control calorie intake, energize muscles, fight fatigue and temporarily boost your metabolism. The amount of water needed each day varies by person, but most health experts recommend eight 8-ounce glasses (or about 2 liters).
2. Take the Stairs
If you work at a multi-level facility, you can sneak a little exercise into your busy day by skipping the elevator and taking the stairs. Similar to other moderate-level physical activities, regular stair climbing burns calories; helps to build strong bones, muscles, and joints, and can help you maintain a healthy weight.
3. Hire an Online Trainer
A lot can be accomplished online and that includes maintaining an exercise regime. One benefit of hiring an online trainer is that you can stick with the same one and have continuity in your fitness routine, no matter where you travel for locum tenens. Depending on your preferred types of exercise, it may be important to find housing that includes a gym or fitness facility as an amenity.
4. Buy Groceries When Possible
Fortunately, most clinicians can rent a home, apartment, or condo or stay in a hotel with a kitchen or kitchenette when traveling for locum tenens. That means you can buy groceries and cook for yourself, making it easier to control your nutrition, manage your caloric intake, and stay fit. Cooking your own food is also cheaper and you can pack meals and snacks to take to work. Even with a hectic, irregular schedule, there are plenty of easy, yet delicious meals suitable for busy professionals.
5. Walk to Work
As with taking stairs instead of an elevator, walking is something you can do anywhere, and it should be used as a substitute for driving when possible. If you find housing relatively close to the hospital or clinic where you’re employed, you can even walk to and from work when the weather permits. If the distance is a bit far for walking, consider investing in a bike, which is a good way to stay fit while mitigating transportation costs and reducing your carbon footprint.
6. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Purchase and prepare a few healthy, portable snacks to keep nearby at work so you don’t go for hours without eating or end up purchasing unhealthy snacks from convenient vending machines. If you can, take a short break to eat your snack or lunch, like multitasking, and distracted or hurried eating may lead to weight gain.
Staying Fit No Matter Where You Are
It can be difficult to stick to your health and exercise goals when traveling for locum tenens, but it is important for clinicians, on both a personal and professional level. You have the potential to perform your job better, feel mentally healthier, and reduce your stress by keeping your fitness a priority.