Exercise, Fitness and Nursing.

by Jennifer Smith, Registered Nurse, Australia

Working as a nurse, I spend a great deal of time standing and walking during my work day. I could easily say that I would walk 5kms most days as part of my job. I used to think that I was getting plenty of exercise during my day, at work and that would suffice for regular daily exercise. So other than the activity that I would do at work, I did no exercise.

I loved walking, but would only walk if it meant that I was travelling from point A to point B. This worked quite well for me when I use to live in a city and relied on public transport, but once I moved to a country area I needed to use my car all the time. So the ‘incidental exercise’ and walking that I did came to a standstill.

Fitness and exercise as a young adult, was also very goal driven for me. There was an area of work that I was keen to join that required a certain level of fitness. I was very determined to get into this line of work, so I pushed myself very hard so that I could run so far, do so many sit-ups and push-ups, all within in a certain time frame. I can honestly say that I didn’t enjoy any of it and I had a particular dislike for running, but I had to do it. I was determined to get into this job. Once I was in, there was no need for me to continue this style of exercise, so I stopped and did nothing.

It’s interesting to reflect on the beliefs I had around exercise. It had to have a purpose. Walking was to get somewhere and pushing myself to get into this job was me trying to be someone. I had no sense of true enjoyment in any of the physical activity that I was doing. I always had a sense, though that I needed to walk and move my body but I didn’t quite know where to start, so…..I did nothing.

Over the last 2 or so years I have gradually made changes to how I care for myself with my eating patterns, how I rest and sleep. The fact that I did no exercise and hadn’t done any for years was becoming an issue I knew I needed to address. I had an opportunity to attend a gentle exercise class, so I did.

The first thing that surprised me was how my body really felt the workout, even though it was gentle and I was only doing as many repetitions of an exercise as I felt to. So I wasn’t pushing myself. I had no sense that I had to better or improve myself. The next thing I noticed was how enjoyable it was to exercise in this way. So enjoyable, that I’ve kept it up and even returned to the gym.

The thing that surprises me the most and is the most delicious aspect of exercising in this way is how lovely I feel at the gym or while going for a walk. There’s no trying or pushing or improving. It’s all about listening to my body and doing exercise that supports me at the pace that I feel.

The effect on my work as a nurse is amazing. My general fitness levels have increased dramatically. Travelling through a shift, caring for sick patients and dealing with the general running of a ward/hospital have become physically easier. I don’t get so tired.

Recently I noticed I was tired after a morning shift. I’d convinced myself that I was so tired that I could not possibly go for a walk, even though I knew I needed to do something physical. What I realised though, with the assistance of a very wise Universal Medicine Practitioner, is that I had been taking on all of the events, issues and emotions of the day and perhaps what I needed to do was actually walk after work.

I had 7 shifts in a row coming up, the majority of them mornings. The perfect opportunity to do an experiment!

So I took myself for a walk after all of those morning shifts. The moment I started walking, I could really feel in my body what I had taken on. My arms and shoulders especially felt so tight and heavy. As I walked, I had a sense that I was releasing the day that I had taken on. When I got home, I noticed how my energy had re-balanced itself so that I wasn’t drained and had plenty of energy for being at home in the evening. A 7 day in a row stint is usually viewed in nursing with dread. But my experience showed me that with commitment and understanding of how to truly care for my body, I can remain energised and vital, during and after work.

I now realise how important daily exercise and especially walking is for me, but also for the people I nurse and come into contact with during my day. The more I care for me, the more I can care for them.

So it is, with a spring in my step I’m off for a walk.

Inspired by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

483 thoughts on “Exercise, Fitness and Nursing.

  1. Exercising gently with the body has very fast results as the body isn’t having to spend time recovering after being thrashed around at the gym. It responds far more to gentleness than abuse.

  2. This is an amazing example of how commitment to work and commitment to ourselves comes from how much love we afford for ourselves.

  3. I just recently signed up at the gym again and it was amazing how much my body had missed it. I took it steady and made it all about exercising my body and enjoying it. Completely opposite to how I used to exercise… trying to make my body better.

  4. When I walk to be with me and my body it feels very different from when I walk to ‘do exercise’ and to ‘get fit’.

  5. I have recently started going swimming and to the gym for the first time in my life, not to lose weight or tone up (I don’t even know what that means) but to be fit to do my new job where it will be more physical in a different way from my previous job. Basing my exercise around supporting me in other areas of life and only working out for as long as my body says so, not pushing it, feels amazing.

  6. When we exercise from how our body feels, we start to build a very different relationship up between our body and exercise, when it’s all about getting fit we often have an image of what we think we should look like, yet when we let go of expectations and pictures we are able to let our body take the lead and exercise how the body wants us too, a great reminder never to override what the body tells us.

  7. A beautiful realisation when we realise that taking care of ourselves has to come first before we are able to look after others we realise the responsibility we have both to ourselves and the rest of humanity.

  8. When we drop our beliefs around exercise and start to choose to move our body in a far more gentle and caring way, the quality in which we exercise and move is far lighter, joyful and fun with no focus on goals or outcome based targets just enjoying our body’s natural flow and rhythm, that I found more naturally energising than the way I was moving and pushing my body before. It builds an inner strength that if I hold during the day supports me to stay steady with myself whilst completing everything that needs to be done.

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