Simple ways to stay fit as a travel nurse

When you're at home, you might rely on the gym to workout, but when you're on assignment, you may not have that option. Who said you need a gym in order to stay in shape as a travel nurse? Maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road just takes a bit of creativity. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you keep up with your fitness routine.

Pack the right items
When you leave for an assignment, don't just pack clothing, pack some fitness equipment as well. You don't have to fill your bag with heavy dumbbells, however. A few of these light basics should give you all you need for a quick workout in in your rented apartment:

  • Jump rope: This lightweight fitness tool is perfect for an effective cardio workout.
  • Resistance tubes: These tubes can curl up right into the corner of your suitcase, not taking up much space at all. tie one of these around the leg of a bed or a heavy desk, and use the resistance band to work your triceps, biceps and shoulders.
  • Yoga mat: This mat is perfect for stretching before and after workouts, but it's ideal for yoga. Bring along a yoga DVD with you on your assignments so you can stay limber and in shape wherever you are.
  • Inflatable yoga ball: There are so many core exercises you can do using a yoga ball. Deflate the ball, stick it in the bottom of your suitcase, and inflate when you arrive at your destination.
  • Athletic shoes
  • Comfortable exercise clothing

Check the area
There may be a few gyms in the area that you can check out which may offer short term memberships. Ask your colleagues at work for gym recommendations and if you're in an apartment, the management office may have information available. Just because you're only staying in an area for a short amount of time doesn't mean it's not worth it to join a gym.

Schedule a workout
Workouts typically don't happen unless you make them a priority. There are always things that seem to get in the way. But if you schedule exercise into your day, you'll make time for it. Once you receive your shift schedule, figure out the best time in the day to fit in a quick workout, whether it's in the morning or at the end of your day.

Get creative
Let's say you forgot to pack fitness equipment, and all you have are the items in your residence. When you use your imagination, any room can turn into a gym. Here are a few examples of how you can workout in your room:

Sturdy chair or bench: Either of these objects are perfect for doing tricep dips to tone your arms. Start by sitting down on the chair, putting your arms behind you. Slowly slide your behind off of the chair, keeping your arms straight to hold yourself up. Extend your legs straight out in front of you, and then slowly bend your elbows, lowering your body toward the floor. Your elbows should reach about a 90 degree angle, but only go as far as your body allows. Then return to the starting position. Complete 10-20 repetitions.

The wall: Standing up straight and facing your back against a wall, bend your knees and lower your body as if you're sitting in an invisible chair. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle and your knees shouldn't go past your toes. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on your leg strength. If you want to enhance your workout, pick up a heavy object like a book and do some bicep curls while you're doing your wall sit.

Take advantage of the outdoors
You can get to know your surroundings and work on your fitness at the same time by heading outside for your workout. Because you're in an unknown location, download the app MapMyRun, so you can figure out exactly where you're going, and you can be sure you won't get lost. Plus, the app will tell you how long you ran, your pace and how many calories you burned.