Research suggests that a few short intervals of exercise (adding up to 30 minutes) throughout the day will have the same health benefits as one continuous 30-minute period of exercise. That’s good news for busy emergency physicians everywhere. Here are three quick exercises that can be performed in the doctor’s lounge when the emergency department is quiet.
Strengthen a range of muscles, from your thighs to your hamstrings to your lower back. Lunges also strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee joints, increasing your ability to respond quickly during an emergency situation.
1. Place your hands on your hips.
2. Lunge forward with one foot, keeping your hips level. Your knee on the lunging leg should not extend past your foot, but should be perpendicular to the floor.
3. Lower your body until your other knee (on the leg extended behind you) gently meets the floor.
Start with three sets of 8, working your way up to three (or more) sets of 12. Repeat on the other side.
Ramp it up: For a more challenging set of lunges, grab a heavy book or two (Tintinalli’s, The Merck Manual, or something equally hefty) to hold on the thigh of the leg that is lunging forward while performing the exercise.
In addition to strengthening your triceps, these dips benefit your shoulders, back, chest and core muscle groups, helping you to lift and move patients with more control.
1. Take a stationary chair and put it against a wall. Place hands on either side of you on the seat of the chair, facing forward.
2. Position yourself in front of the chair so that your hips are level with the chair, but suspended above the floor. Your legs should be straight in front of you, at an angle to the floor. Your arms are at a 45-degree angle with the chair, just behind you.
3. Lower your body slowly toward the floor, then raise back up to the starting position. Be sure to keep your arms and legs engaged.
Start with three sets of 8, working your way up to three sets of 12.
Tone it down: Keep your knees bent as you raise your body up and down, this is a bit less challenging and may be a good place to start.
Ramp it up: Lift one leg above the floor while performing the dips. Complete one set, switch legs. This will engage your core as well as your triceps.
Strengthens glutes, lower back and core. Prevents injury and boosts balance and agility so that you can remain on your feet for long periods of time.
1. Place a stationary chair in front of you. Position yourself behind the chair, with your hips level and just behind the back of the chair.
2. Holding on with both hands, lift one leg behind you, keeping your foot flexed and facing the floor.
3. Do this exercise slowly with your thigh and buttocks engaged.
Do 8-12 repetitions on either side. Work your way up to three or more sets.