5 Fitness Tips for Busy Nurses

Nursing is a demanding career that requires immense dedication, hard work, and commitment. Nurses often have to work in challenging environments where taking care of their health and wellness becomes tough. 

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Long work hours and irregular shifts often leave nurses exhausted and drained, leaving little energy for self-care. Additionally, consistent exposure to stressful situations and witnessing people in pain and despair can lead to burnout, a major issue plaguing nursing. 

While the noble nursing profession enables you to care for others, it is crucial to prioritize self-care and fitness. You should give yourself time to recuperate from the mental and bodily demands of the nursing profession. 

You should develop a care standard that ensures the best patient care while keeping you healthy. Some fitness tips you can adopt in your busy schedule are discussed below. 

1. Ensure work-life balance

Ensuring work-life balance is challenging; nevertheless, it is essential to stay fit and healthy. The main ingredient for ensuring work-life balance is creating realistic strategies without reaching a breaking point. 

Striking work-life balance ensures that you don’t fall short in any of your commitments, be they personal or professional. Finding time and space for activities such as spending time with family or playing with your pets makes you happy and ensures health and fitness. 

However, work-life balance goes beyond merely meeting personal and professional commitments; it also encompasses successfully pursuing career development activities. 

Many nurses try to continue their education during their nursing career but fail because they struggle to balance various facets of their personal and professional life. However, with the introduction of online education, things have become much easier. 

Nurses with an MSN degree can now enroll in a highly in-demand nursing specialization through a post masters NP program online. Online education allows you to manage your academic and professional commitments side by side, ensuring work-life balance. You can gain knowledge and expertise in a top nursing area through an online NP certification while fulfilling the rest of your commitments. 

2. Engage in regular physical activity

Regular physical activity is crucial for nurses, despite the challenges of long shifts.

Exercise is a great way to prepare your body to meet the physical nature of your job. It strengthens your muscles and bones, making it easier to stand on your feet for extended periods. Regular exercise also improves cardiovascular endurance, mitigates stress, and promotes mental well-being. 

The neurotransmitter endorphins released during exercise act as a natural stress buster, helping you fight burnout. Nurses can incorporate exercises in their work schedule in many ways, such as brisk walking, climbing stairs, participating in fitness classes, or using bicycles for commuting. 

It is important to find an exercise routine or activity that you genuinely like. Moreover, choose activities you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule, especially if you have irregular shift schedules. Activities that can be done in short bursts, during breaks, or planned ahead of time ensure a higher chance of becoming an inseparable part of your routine.  

Apart from physical and mental health benefits, engaging in regular exercise and sharing it with your patients also help you set an example they can follow. Studies show that nurses who engage in physical activity can better motivate their patients to demonstrate the same behavior and improve their health. 

3. Choose a fitness friend 

The best way to prevent yourself from skipping physical activity or gym sessions is to have a fitness buddy tag along with you. You can compete, compare steps, or just be there for each other. 

With a fitness friend by your side, exercise feels less daunting and boring; it becomes enjoyable. You find someone to connect with, laugh with, and unwind together. The more fun your exercise sessions are, the more eagerly you anticipate them. Therefore, a workout buddy can motivate you to stick to your exercise routine. 

Your fitness friend can also provide emotional support, allowing you to celebrate milestones together and lend a listening ear during challenging times. 

On top of everything, having a fitness companion who can assist during exercises, ensure proper form, and reduce the risk of injuries is a major advantage. 

When finding a gym friend, make sure it is someone who can encourage you to push your limits. They must be able to motivate you to squeeze in a fitness session even with crazy and unpredictable work schedules. They should also instill self-accountability in achieving your set physical activity goals. 

4. Indulge in healthy snacking

Nurses can enjoy and treat themselves to nutritious snacks without feeling guilty or compromising their health. Instead of viewing snacks as a guilty pleasure, choosing healthy snacks help you nourish yourself while on the go. 

You can opt for delicious yet nutritious options such as dried nuts, cheese sticks, fruits, and crunchy vegetables. Whole wheat crackers offer slow-releasing carbohydrates, sustaining energy levels over an extended period. They also make you feel full without giving you a dose of calories. So, you manage your weight and get the stamina to tackle long shifts and demanding tasks. 

Another noticeable benefit of healthy snacking is that it helps you keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating during main meals. They also prevent unnecessary snacking on unhealthy treats, leading to temporary energy spikes followed by crashes. 

5. Exercise at home

As a nurse, busy shifts and demanding work in the hospital can make going to a gym challenging. But even if you can’t make it to a gym, you can still workout at home. Home workouts provide flexibility, allowing you to exercise at any time that suits your schedule.

The best part is that you don’t need all the equipment for working out at home; you can make do with the available resources.

YouTube and fitness apps provide a wealth of resources for getting the necessary guidance to create a well-rounded fitness program. You can design your routine by incorporating yoga, Pilates, or even indoor running. 

By creating a dedicated space, putting on sneakers, and some energizing music, you can create the perfect setting for working out at home. 


As a nurse, taking care of your health and fitness is just as crucial as caring for others. If you are not mentally and physically fit, you may be inefficient in service delivery and prone to making more mistakes, which can result in negative patient outcomes. Therefore, make necessary changes in your routine to ensure your health and fitness. 

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