Doctors may be called the saviours of society because they are the backbone of a healthy nation. Without proper health, all of the industries, services, and institutions would grind to a halt. Doctors are the reason that the average human being wakes up feeling ready to take on the day because, without health, nothing can be done. So it’s clear that we all owe our vigour and vitality to doctors, but what about the health of the doctor? We have a question for all the doctors – should serving others and making sure everyone else is fit and healthy come at the cost of your own health? Absolutely not! We believe that every single human being on this planet has a right to health, including the professionals who work around the clock to heal others. So why is it that doctors often find it hard to stay fit? The main obstacle that doctors face is their erratic work schedules. For a doctor, duty may call at any time so it is difficult to get into a proper fitness routine. That being said, there are ways where you can inculcate healthy habits and increase your fitness levels. If you really wish to be healthier but lack the time, MAKE time.
Of course, we are not the experts to guide the knowledgeable doctors about taking care of their health. Through this post, we just aim to put together a ready list of a few pointers on how doctors can stay fit.
Target your lifestyle, not just certain habits
We agree that being a doctor means that your lifestyle may be unpredictable but there are some things that will remain constant. For example, you will always be in control of what you choose to eat, even if you have a cook who prepares your meals, you have the power to shop for healthier ingredients, and that’s a great start. So instead of targeting certain, isolated vices such as quitting smoking or cutting out processed sugar, target a facet of your lifestyle, like your general, overall diet. Instead of making one healthy switch from sugar to jaggery, change your eating habits in general. Buy more vegetables, choose the oven over the frying pan and set alarms on your mobile which will remind you to eat on time. Change the way you eat in general, and you will find a marked improvement in your health, even on days that you miss going to the gym.
Carry healthy habits in your pocket
There are numerous apps that have been designed to cater to individuals who want to lead a healthy lifestyle. Such apps not only provide services such as calorie counters and BMI calculators, but they also send you push notifications to remind you to drink water and eat on time. Being a doctor means you must be a master at multi-tasking. Managing three to four tasks at a time almost always means that your own, personal needs take a back seat. This is when it’s handy to have an app that reminds you to drink enough water, and, eat on time.
Sneak in some stretches
One of the aspects of health that really takes a toll on doctors is incorrect posture. This is especially the case with surgeons and professionals who have to be on their feet for hours at a stretch. Most doctors suffer from stiffness all over the body and all this really takes a toll on you in the years to come. If they’re not on their feet, the doctor is at his/her desk conducting research and posture comes into play over here as well. The long-term solution to this problem is to join a yoga class since this form of exercise is targeted towards stiffness, increasing the elasticity of the muscles and creating space for your internal organs to breathe. A quick fix to stiffness is to do a couple of chair twisting exercises whenever you get the chance. Lift your arms up, interlock your fingers and stretch. Use your chair to help you twist to the sides and release any stiffness you may have in the neck. Stretching whenever you get the chance to will help keep your muscles and joints healthier.
Holidays should be holistic
Yes, after a long week you may want to take it easy and let loose but remember the advice you give your patients, health is the greatest wealth! It’s literally the best investment you can make in your life so make sure that you set aside some time for wellness and health on your holidays. This can be in the form of a guided meditation class to help you focus your energy on being present in each moment, or going for a hike or cycling. You can also set some time aside to plan the next weeks’ meals. It’s the one day of the week where you can focus on yourself and on your body and mind instead of worrying about the health of others.
Track your progress
Just like you track the progress of your patients, track your own personal progress so that you stay motivated and can actually experience and reap the benefits of your hard work. One of the most rewarding things about being a healthy doctor is that you get to lead by example. Can you imagine how motivated your patients will feel if they see you in the pink of health, despite your busy schedule?
Be a meticulous meal planner
When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, nutrition is the most important. How about taking out time on your holiday to make a timetable which contains meals for each day, these meals should include all the food groups so that each meal is a healthy mix of fibre, protein, carbs and healthy fats. Once this timetable is in place, meal planning will be effortless! There are also a number of mobile apps that can help you plan your meals so as to meet all of your daily nutritional requirements. Also carry a snack box to work, this can include snacks such as fruits, nuts, seeds and homemade granola bars. So if you have to head into emergency surgery but do not have the time to eat lunch, you can always snack on a banana and trail mix before heading into the OT. This will give you the energy you need to sustain the day.
Make healthy a habit
Your health regime does not have to be restricted to making time for the gym and eating right, there will be days where you will be too exhausted to work out because you were on call the entire night or you had an emergency procedure. On these days, small things like taking the stairs will make a big difference to your energy levels. So make healthy a habit, cut out processed foods, get into the habit of carrying healthy snacks and take the stairs because every choice we make can either nudge us towards good health or ill health.
If this all seems too overwhelming to you then start small and find solace in the fact that once healthy becomes a habit, the effort is effortless! Remember that as a caregiver, you must be in the position to care and treat others in the first place. Doctors must focus on their health the most because a fit doctor is the epitome of good health.