Here are 3 ways that doctors can make sure they stay at the peak of their health while in hospital or clinic.
Physicians are in the privileged and trusted position of spending their days dispensing health advice to their patients. Yet the ironic thing for doctors due to the hectic nature of the job, is that very few of them put enough effort into staying healthy themselves! Alarming statistics on being overweight, lack of sleep and general physical activity aside, just focusing on the time at work is also helpful to be able to perform at the highest level. Everyone who works in healthcare knows that a 12-hour plus day can go by in the blink of an eye. Here are 3 ways that doctors can make sure they stay at the peak of their health while in hospital or clinic:
- Avoid going long periods without eating
Typically, lunch will be the main meal that doctors will eat during the day. Avoid high-carbohydrate lunches to maintain your level of alertness and ensure at least a couple of healthy snacks during the day. This could be a granola high-fiber bar, apple, banana or low-fat yogurt. Have one in the morning and another in the afternoon. When you do eat lunch, choose a healthy non-refined carbohydrate, low-fat protein source, and a side of vegetables.
- Stay well-hydrated
Pure water (can be flavored with lemon if you want a bit of taste) is ideal. Average total daily fluid intake for men should be around 3.5 liters (120 ounces) and for women 2.5 liters (85 ounces). Most people—including physicians—don't hit this. Avoid sodas and excess caffeinated beverages (yes, avoid too much coffee). You may need to urinate more frequently by drinking lots of fluids, but having either bottled water or a glass of water at your side—which can easily be done at a computer station—is a great idea.
- Get a burst of cardio in here and there
Yes, you read right. Use the stairs instead of being lazy in the elevator, walk briskly between floors, or even outside during a break (brisk walking is classed as moderate intensity activity). As well as helping you burn off calories, it will also give you an energy boost, ensuring you stay at peak mental performance.
As a doctor, it's not just important for yourself that you take good care of your health while at work, but also for your patients. Never underestimate how the example you set, filters through to everyone you encounter. And ultimately by trying to stay as healthy as you can, you are also more likely to be on top of your medical game too.
Suneel Dhand MD is an internal medicine physician, author and speaker.
www.DocsDox.com is a service that helps physicians find local moonlighting and per diem opportunities.