When I started my clinical rotations this year I found that staying fit has become much harder. I found many excuses not to exercise. My schedule is less predictable-- I never know for sure when my day will end so it’s hard to make plans with friends or make it in time for a gym class. I used to run in the morning but now I leave before sunrise. I’m also really exhausted by the end of a crazy day in the hospital, my legs are tired and feel like they are filled with lead. Also, I have a lot of reading and studying to do about my patients for the following day not to mention studying for my exams.
So in my first couple of weeks I barely exercised. Although I had more time for reading and studying, I found that I was not able to concentrate and I was just not as sharp. I was very frustrated with my performance on the wards, with my patients and my attendings—I knew that I could do better then that. On the third week, I just forced myself to go to the gym and work out for 40min: 30 min cardio and 10 min for abs and stretching. It was tough- my legs were really tired and it was hard to run-- but what a difference!!! The next day I felt like all the fog cleared from my head- I was more productive, I enjoyed my work and my interaction with my colleagues and I was in a much better mood.
Now the things that keep me motivated to keep exercising everyday are:
My responsibility to my patient and team- knowing that they are counting on me to be sharp and observant. Knowing that I will be able to better handle all the stress on the ward and “pimping” from my attendings, I’ll be in such a better mood the next day. I’ll be able to enjoy my interactions with my patients and get much more satisfaction from my work. I actually get more studying and reading done. I also multi- task --> I read while on the treadmill. The Stanford gym is open till midnight, so unless I’m on-call – there is really no acceptable excuse… but perhaps my strongest motivation right now is the fact that I am getting married in September and I need to look absolutely fabulous in my wedding dress… Hey, what ever works, right?!?
This is an inspiring story. It sounded like that 40 minutes made a big difference. I have plenty of time but lack your motivation. But I would like to feel better. I find it hard to concentrate and I am sluggish all the time. It's hard to remember ever not feeling that way. Because I have so much to lose, it's easy to think I just can't do it and I have too far to go.