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Kelley Roy
By: Kelley Roy Posted: Nov 15th, 2021
NursePower Empowers Nurses

Energizing, Nurse-Friendly Exercises You Can Do at Work — Part 4

Every nurse knows how important balance is, especially as we get older. How many patients do we see whose lack of balance was the cause of their accident and their injuries?

As we age, all the small stabilizer muscles, especially in our core, weaken and erode, causing our posture to fade and our balance to soften.

So this month we are focusing on energizing, nurse-friendly exercises you can do at work to improve your balance.

As with the rest of our nurse-friendly exercises in this series, these movements can be performed without any weights, completed quickly, and repeated throughout your shift for maximum benefit.

If you haven’t seen the rest of our nurse-friendly exercises, bookmark our blog page so you can visit them later.

Nurse-Friendly Exercise #10: Tree Pose

NursePower - Stock image - Tree pose

The image really speaks for itself, except you don’t have to take off your shoes and you don’t have to go to a park to do this move.

While being barefoot helps you stay centered, it’s not required. But if you’re wearing clogs, then you can quickly step out of them to perform a tree pose.

As with many of our exercises, there are a few variations based on your comfort level. If you fall out of the pose, that is totally okay. Just take a breath and resume the pose.

Level 1: Tree Pose basics. Place the flat of your right foot on the inside of your left leg. The more comfortable you feel, the higher you can place your foot: inner calf, inner knee, inner thigh. At this level, keep your arms at prayer with your hands together. Repeat while standing on the right leg.

Level 2: Tree Pose with Arm Raise. Get into tree pose the same way with the flat of one foot resting on the inside of the opposite leg, arms in prayer. Now raise your arms slowly above your head. Maintain your balance. Repeat on the other leg.

Level 3: Tree Pose Looking Up. Strike the tree pose basic position with hands at prayer. Slowly raise your arms above your head. Now slowly look up. This requires another level of balance and can sometimes be disorienting. 

In each level, try to maintain tree pose for 60 seconds. You can repeat this movement multiple times during your shift. You will probably notice an improvement in your balance within a few days.


Nurse-Friendly Exercise #11: Leg Lift

Leg lifts are quick and easy.

Stand on one leg and lift the other, bending your knee up towards your armpit. Don’t worry if you can’t lift your leg very high at first. Work to get your thigh parallel to the ground. You can use your hands to help hold your leg up, but over time, you should need your hands less and less.

Hold the pose for 60 seconds or as long as you can for now. Return your raised leg to the floor and repeat on the other side.


Nurse-Friendly Exercise #12: Lateral Lunge to Balance

NursePower - Stock image - Lateral lunge

This is a combination move that will require not only balance but some leg strength. You will have to gauge how deep to lunge based on your strength and comfort level.

You are probably familiar with lunges, right? Well, in a lateral lunge, you step to the side and bend your stepping knee. If you are feeling strong, you can bend the knee 90°. If you are feeling not-strong, then you can just take a small step to the side.

Pushing off with your foot, return to a standing position. As your stepping foot returns, perform a leg lift, bringing your knee up so your thigh is parallel to the ground. Immediately lower your foot to the ground. 

Repeat this combination move 5-10 times on each side.


NursePower Empowers Nurses!

You’ll notice that our Nurse-Friendly Exercises aren’t time or effort-intensive, nor are they about looking better in your scrubs. Instead, they are about keeping you physically and emotionally healthy.

Adding small amounts of targeted exercise into your daily routine will help you prevent injuries and chronic aches that plague all nurses. It will also help you reduce your stress and anxiety because, as we all know, exercise releases endorphins and other beneficial chemicals into our system that help us emotionally.

Share these Nurse-Friendly Exercises with the other nurses on your shift so you can support each other. I promise that at the very least, the sight of several of you doing Tree Pose at the desk will get you giggling. 

And we could all use some more giggles.

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Kelley Roy

About Kelley Roy, RN

Kelley Roy is the Clinical Executive Director at Assured Quality Homecare (ASQ) and oversees the private duty nursing service, NursePower.  She also leads ASQ's personal care aide training and education programs.  Kelley started her career in healthcare in 1985 as a CNA and became an LPN in 1987.  Embracing her passion for working with the elderly, she pursued an RN degree with a certification in gerontology. In 1990, she started a nursing agency that exclusively provided services to long-term care facilities. By the mid-1990s, this agency had grown over a hundred employees and was the largest nurse staffing agency in New Hampshire. In 1998, Kelley moved to Norwich, CT, with her sons and continued to work in long-term care in both New Hampshire and Connecticut.  Her management experiences include nurse manager for Shoreline Allergy and Asthma from 2000 to 2016 and an additional year at the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology department at Mass General Hospital.  She enjoyed teaching a Certified Nurses Aide training class to adult learners at American Ambulance from 2013 until 2017. She joined the team at ASQ in 2017 and is passionate about helping the team grow, both personally and professionally.  You can find Kelley working on a home improvement project or pontoon boating and fishing on Amston Lake with family and friends when not at work.


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