Five Health Tips for Locums
This blog is written by a pharmacist who is a fitness instructor. Wants to share his useful tips to help pharmacists.
As Pharmacists, it is our job not only to dispense medication and advice to patients but to also be able to show an understanding of how to apply this knowledge to get the results that are needed.
How often have you advised a patient about improving their nutrition, or doing more exercise to improve their health?
Do you think that as the health professional giving this advice, we should also uphold it in order to show that the advice we give is effective?
As a locum myself, I know the days can be long and often it is difficult to ‘eat well’ or find time and energy to go to the gym, but hopefully I can provide you with some strategies that I use with my clients and myself to help you improve your health and fitness, and as a result, your concentration and effectiveness at work.
Sleep – make sure that you get sufficient sleep and have a good routine in place so that when you wake up in the morning, you can focus and start the day efficiently. 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night is recommended for most adults (1). You will notice that as your fitness and nutrition improves, sleep quality will also most likely improve, and you will feel better on waking.
This is probably the most important factor to control as when tired, motivation drops and with that goes your desire to eat well and exercise and your ability to perform along with it.
Nutrition – This is the No.1 priority for weight management/ body composition and will also significantly contribute to how you feel and concentrate throughout the day. (Nutrition is a big topic, deserving of its own article, which will follow later).
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘I can’t lose weight’ from patients, maybe you have even said it yourself…but I’m here to call BS on that.
The chances are if this is the case, you are under-reporting the amount of food that you eat and/or making poor food choices. The ‘MyFitnessPal’ app is a great tool for keeping a track of your intake – just make sure that you track everything, including drinks (coffees and alcoholic drinks can contain a deceptive amount of calories).
Personally, I recommend a diet high in protein and fats, with some carbs – the fats and protein are broken down by the body more slowly than carbohydrates and therefore keep you feeling fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of snacking through the day.
Including some carbs will keep your energy levels up and enable you to still eat the foods that you love – you won’t hear me saying that you have to cut out any foods, just that you NEED to be aware of the effects certain foods will have on your body.
Meal Prep – By planning your meals in advance, this saves both time and money, and enables you to ‘batch cook’ foods or even just prepare the meals for the following day easily.
If you have a family to cook for, just increase the quantity that you would normally make and have the leftovers for lunch the following day.
This method allows you to keep track of exactly what you eat, and saves you having to go to the shop at lunch and buy a less healthy, probably more expensive option.
Exercise – Do it daily! As we are standing or sitting for most of the day, our joints will not be taken through their full ranges of motion regularly. Whilst you may not notice issues presently, this lack of movement will take its toll down the line…most likely leading to an array of joint problems and stiffness.
(Think about how many people come to you complaining of back pain, or shoulder pain…do you want to end up in their boat?)
My recommendation: set aside two 5 minute blocks, one in the morning and one in the evening to mobilise all the major joints in the body and take them through their full range – an example of a good routine that I use for myself and my clients can be found by clicking the link below (2)
This is a bare minimum – ideally another 20-30 minutes of intense exercise should be performed daily, or at least 4 times weekly. Preferably a combination of resistance training and cardiovascular work should be performed (again this is a massive topic and will be covered in more detail in another post).
Time management – As locums, most of us travel a fair distance daily, this means that the days are often long and we find ourselves short of time in the evenings –especially if you have family commitments in addition to this. At times this can become stressful and your health suffers as a result.
Remember – your health is the most important thing; you only have one body…so look after it and it will look after you in return.
Give yourself some time – it doesn’t have to be long, 20-30 minutes a day in total to keep your joints healthy. Even if you have to split that up into two 15minute blocks, get it done. You will feel much better as a result after just a few weeks both mentally and physically.
For any more information, please feel free to get in touch via
Or via the website: www.jlfitnesssolutions.co.uk