Battling Burnout: Exercise, Practice What You Preach

Physician's Money Digest, April 2007, Volume 14, Issue 4

You tell your patients all the time that regular exercise helps foster better health, but with a busy practice, it can sometimes seem nearly impossible to fit exercise into your tight schedule. The following are creative ways to make exercise a regular part of your week:

At Work:

  • Instead of holding a meeting in your office, head outside for a "walking meeting" with another doctor.
  • Do squats, lunges, or pace in a circle while you listen to voicemail messages or return patient calls.
  • Sign up to train for an athletic competition or charity race.
  • Initiate an exercise competition for your patients and join in.
  • Park far away from the building so you have to walk the full length of the parking lot to get to your office.
  • Get off one stop early on the subway or bus and walk the rest.
  • Always take the stairs instead of the elevator, even if it’s just a few flights.

At Home:

  • Use a 20-minute workout DVD to incorporate short exercise bursts into your day.
  • Take advantage of cable TV channels like FitTV that broadcast 30- to 60- minute fitness programs directly into your living room.
  • Put a set of free weights next to your TV and do a set of weights whenever a commercial comes on the screen. Better yet, hide the TV remote so you have to get up to change the channel.
  • Schedule a "workout date" with a family member or friend on the weekends. Try hiking a new trail, walking the beach, kicking the soccer ball around, or taking a dance class together.
  • Borrow books on tape or CDs from the library and listen to them while on a run or walk.
  • Plan family vacations around a fun seasonal activity like skiing or surfing.
  • Hire a personal trainer to provide accountability and teach you new moves. If you like working out with other people, set up a group training session that meets regularly.

Christi Lehner-Collins is a certified holistic health counselor based in Boston, Mass. She specializes in helping busy professionals all over the world practice stress-free healthy eating and guilt-free self-care. She welcomes questions or comments at christi@bostonhealth coach.com. For more information and free resources, visit www.bostonhealthcoach.com.