No doubt about it, nursing is an extremely demanding profession. Not only is it mentally demanding, but physically demanding as well. After a stressful 12-hour shift working out is the last thing a nurse may want to do because their body aches from a hard days’ work. Keeping healthy by working out is something all nurses know to do, but just don’t, either because of the long hours or the feeling of being hit by a truck after their shift.
Incorporating a Pilates routine a few times a week can help decrease strain, strengthen muscles and prevent potential work-related injuries. Take these benefits of a regular Pilates routine into consideration:
No impact: This is a no-brainer when it comes to working out. As a nurse your body probably takes a pounding during an average shift. Your workouts shouldn’t cause more damage to your body than an average workday.
Pilates uses your own body weight as resistance for the workouts so you don’t have to worry about any jarring movements causing damage to your body.
Increased flexibility: Pilates incorporates many stretches that, over time, will increase your flexibility. Flexibility is important since nurses typically do lots of bending and stooping during their shift. Additionally, range-of-motion exercises will enhance joint and muscle movement, which will increase your flexibility and help you move better and perform daily activities with greater ease and less pain.
Strengthen core: The transverse abdominis is a deep core muscle that works with surrounding abdominal muscles to support your spine and pelvis. Learning the correct activation of this muscle will help prevent back pain, and help you learn how to activate it while at work (or undertaking other daily tasks) so you don’t get back pain whilst caring for patients.
Siddhi et. al. (2018) concluded that Pilates exercises were efficient in treating non-specific back pain in nurses and nursing students.
Pilates has been proven to be the best core strengthening form of exercises (even better than Yoga) because it reaches the deep muscles (multifidi) connected to your spine.
Improve posture: When you strengthen your core, your back is automatically stronger as well. Having a strong core and back helps nurses when you have a job that involves a lot of lifting and physically assisting patients. In addition, an improved posture gives makes you stand taller and gives an illusion of weight loss.
Tone: Although Pilates is a no impact workout it does allow for full body toning. Pilates makes one more aware of their body in general and the muscles used to carry out movements during a workout. Most all exercises in Pilates involve very slow and controlled movements meaning that you must also contract your core at all times. Small, slow, controlled movements can help tone your body in ways you would have never imagined. Studio Pilates (with equipment) exercises can help you maintain correct posture at home and at work, which will decrease back pain and prevent pain from reoccurring.