For busy healthcare professionals, movement throughout the day is a great way to help relieve stress and stay healthy. If you’re looking for ways to move more during your workday, here are four-movement tips for busy physical therapists and physical therapist assistants!
Just like new moms are told to sleep when the baby sleeps, physical therapists should move while their patients exercise! Demonstrate good form to patients, then do 5-10 extra reps with them, or hold a stretch for 30 seconds. This extra step can add up throughout the long workday. And trust me – your charting can wait!
Just like you should take the farthest parking spot in the parking lot to increase your steps, find the farthest sink to wash your hands! When treating a shaman early in my career, I received some good advice – don’t just wash your hands. Roll those sleeves up, and let the water hit the cubital fossa and run down the forearms. Do some belly breaths while the water flows. This activity is a cleansing ritual in some cultures. As I tend to become attached to my patients and worry about them long after work hours, this cleansing reminds me to let certain issues walk out the door with patients and not hold onto them. Easier said than done, I know!
Whenever you finish a note, reward yourself with movement and hydration! Whether a strut around the gym, ten squats, five burpees, or a plank, pick something you love and will see as a fun reward, not a punishment. Make it a clinic tradition and switch it up daily or let patients choose for you! Celebrate having one less note to complete when you get home that night. Instead of rewarding yourself with a sugary snack from the clinic goodie jar, in addition to movement, reward yourself with water. Adding this step will help you stay hydrated during your busy workday and achieve that lofty goal of ten cups per day!
My kids love to sing Daniel Tiger to me, “When you’re mad, and you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four!”1 Whether you’re angry or anxious, there is so much value in a deep belly breath. Breathing when you’re exhausted can help improve focus. Don’t forget that breathing is an exercise! Teach this to patients – it is a valuable part of pain neuroscience education in addition to being a great way to get through your crazy workday.
Have any additional tips!? Write them below in the comment section to help your fellow physical therapists move more and minimize burnout!
1. “Daniel Tiger: PBS Kids.” Daniel Tiger | PBS KIDS, https://pbskids.org/daniel/.