If you’re a healthcare professional, you probably know the benefits and importance of exercise. And you also know that it’s something you should do regularly. However, due to some reasons, many people fail to maintain a regular fitness routine. Nurses, In particular, find it even more challenging to squeeze in some exercise amid hectic shifts, long working hours, achieving professional goals, and other personal commitments. However, regular exercise helps to cope with work-related burnout and stress in a healthcare profession. So if you’re a nurse, you probably need to fit some in your routine more than others.

Luckily, you don’t have to go all out with weight training and whatnot. Some people like smaller bursts of exercise instead of jumping on the treadmill or hitting the gym for an hour. In fact, there are plenty of simple yet equally effective activities that you can do without having to leave the hospital/clinic. By doing so, you can use your time more efficiently to complete other professional obligations, such as upskilling your nursing practice. The internet makes enrolling in BSN to DNP online programs extremely easy, and you can work, study, and exercise without any compromises on either. With that said, try these exercises during your shift.

Use the stairwell for a quick fitness break

The stairwell is ideal for incorporating a mini-workout into your daily routine. If you want to achieve a better physique and better cardiovascular health, do the following exercises in 3-4 minutes.

  • One-foot lifts: Lift one foot and grab the stair railing with your hand. Now, push yourself onto your standing foot’s toes. If you can use your balance instead of holding the rail, it would be better.
  • Roman chairs: Louse the wall on the landing and position your back against it. Now, sit as if you’re sitting on an invisible chair. If you can remain in this position for at least 30 seconds, your quadriceps will start firing up.
  • Lunges: People will think you’re a tad bit crazy if you start doing lunges on your nursing floor. Hence, it’s best to go for stationary lunges in the stairwell, which is just as effective. How to do it? Simple; bend your front knee to 44-90 degrees, and when ready, jump and switch legs while you’re in the air.

Stretch more often

Stretches are another simple exercise that you can do anywhere. Plus, it doesn’t take much time either. Google some basic stretches and do them while waiting for patients on the floor, sitting at your desk, or during the nurse break. While stretches won’t increase your heart rate, they’ll mitigate the risk of injury. Since many nurses develop foot, knee, and back problems, stretching will help relieve symptoms such as pain and are definitely worth the effort.

Use your desk as a workout machine

If you’re at your desk – or if you happen to pass by another nurse’s desk, use a few minutes to do the following exercises – when no one is there, of course!

  • Desk push-ups: Position your palms down on the desk’s edge, lower yourself down after taking a step back. Get your chest as close to the desk as possible – the closer, the better. It’s a fantastic exercise for your arms and chest.
  • Side push-ups: It’s similar to a desk push-up, except that in this exercise, you’ll be using a single arm instead of both, and your body will be pointing towards the desk’s side. Side push-ups are a brilliant exercise to strengthen your core, and you’ll see their effectiveness almost instantly.
  • Dips: Position your hips on the desk’s edge while resting both your palms on the desk’s edge about one inch away from your thighs. Now, lower yourself down gently and push yourself back up again. Repeat for as long as you can. It’s an excellent exercise for your shoulders and triceps.
  • Standing toe raises: Rest your hands lightly on the back of the chair while standing behind it with your feet around shoulder-width apart. Ensure the chair isn’t mobile, or you might slip and hurt yourself. Engage your core by tightening your abs and guts, and keep your knees straight. Raise yourself upwards on your toes, pause, and then lower yourself back down slowly. You can also do this by bending your knees slightly. Do this for two minutes, and your legs will feel stretched out.

These exercises shouldn’t take a lot of time to be effective. You can do something for your health by spending less than a minute. Awesome, isn’t it?

Run the stairs

Look, walking the stairs is good, but running them is better! You’ll be able to burn a lot more calories by doing so. Just be careful not to bump into patients and hospital during the process.

So, if you’ve got like a couple of minutes during your shift, run the stairs up and down. Treat it as a proper workout. Pick up your phone, set a timer, and see how much time it takes for you to climb 3-4 flights. Now, challenge yourself by writing your time down on successive tries. Get your heart beating by doing three reps. Also, avoid using the elevator and use the stairs whenever you can.

Speed walk

Because you’re a nurse, you’re mostly on your feet and moving around more than other people. In fact, an average nurse can walk up to 3 miles during the shift, which is quite a lot. But the bad news is, it may make no difference.

Unless you’re not increasing your heart rate, walking won’t burn a lot of calories. So, when you’re walking during your shift, pick up the pace, and ensure your shoulders are squared, and your back is straight. If there’s a long hallway, include it into your rounds. The faster you walk, the more beneficial it is for your health.


Nurses need to find simple ways to keep themselves active on the job. It’s an excellent way to stay physically fit and avoid symptoms of work burnout and stress. This article went over a few exercises nurses can fit into their shift using the stairs and a desk. A few minutes of these every day and you’ll feel fresh an energetic on the job.