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Lab Life Hack: Simple Exercises Help Reduce Fatigue, Improve Productivity at Work

Feb 19, 2018

Making a commitment to exercise on a regular basis is hard, especially when balancing busy work and family schedules. Check out these tips for laboratory professionals, pathologists and residents from fellow members of the laboratory team to help you stay in shape to get ready for spring!

“Working in the laboratory has a very important role in my life as a medical laboratory professional. And I am very passionate about it. I always engage myself in what I refer to as ‘laboratory confidence fitness.’ It is simply a conscious way to perform a timed walking exercise in the laboratory. Not only has this simple act reduced fatigue for me during work time, it has also helped me to accomplish more within the time frame of the daily work routine. I encourage fellow medical laboratory professionals to make adequate use of their allotted break time each day. Depending on the space of your work area, walking consciously for 15 to 30 minutes can make a great difference on your energy level and increase your ability to make good judgment during your work day. Also, another thing that has helped me in my daily routine is taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator and not spending all my break time in the break room.”

Babatunde Oloyede, MLS(ASCP)CM

“Exercise is important to me, but lately, it’s been almost impossible fit to into my schedule. My husband and I are both physicians. He works nights in the ER. I work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and am occasionally on call on weekends. And, we have a two-year-old daughter. We have very little free time.

It’s important for me to get back to exercise because if I don’t establish a pattern of making exercise a priority, it will never happen. Here are a few thoughts on how I can incorporate exercise into my schedule:

 - Take a few brisk walk breaks (10 minutes at a time) during the day at work around the hospital. 

- Download a fitness app to my mobile phone that has options for interval training that I can do at home with minimal equipment.

- On days where I can make it to the gym, schedule workouts on my calendar in advance as official "appointments" so that I'm more likely to stick with making the trip to gym.

- Try new group exercise classes. I seem to enjoy working out more when I'm not doing it alone, and I usually get a better workout when there are other people doing the same thing to push me.”

Amberly Nunez, MD, FASCP

“With busy schedules, it helps to make exercise more efficient (15 minutes at high intensity is at least equal to 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise). Aim for workouts that take little preparation and that can be done in varied locations (home, work or on vacation) such as bodyweight exercises, running or high-intensity interval training (i.e., Tabata or HPI’s seven-minute workout). If exercise is made a priority, add it to your schedule. If you choose an activity that you enjoy, you are more likely to be successful sticking with your plan in the long run.”

Alex Feldman, MD

“Making yourself a priority is hard these days. We start early with a cup of coffee, head into the laboratory, and before you know it the work day has reached its end. For many of us, we have wide-ranging commitments, such as taking care of family, friends, pets, and doing errands. We’ve blinked and the day has just flown by. I find myself saying, ‘I’ll go for that walk tomorrow,’ ‘I can always reschedule that run,’ or ‘maybe I can start going to the gym next month.’ I’ve found success at squeezing fitness into my day by setting small measureable goals with a defined timeframe. Keep your fitness goal realistic. You’re not going to run the Boston Marathon this week. However, you can tackle those stairs instead of coasting on the elevator. Be specific as well. I found myself making excuses when I was vague. Then, you end up watching Netflix and eating pizza. Also, I started a small running group with my fellow lab scientists. We keep each other accountable. We usually sign up for fun 5K races. Having a visual/reason why keeps you motivated and moving forward. This can be a race you want to run, images of soccer players because you want to get back to a sport you love, or that new smaller sized lab coat you’ll be able to wear when you reach your goal. Don’t get discouraged! Make sure to plan ahead. If you know you have a lot of meetings one day, you can make your daily goal to walk around the hospital campus or just even taking a journey on those stairs. You have to show up for yourself! Our patients need us at our best. Keep moving forward. Now go out there!”

Aaron Odegard, MLS(ASCP)CM

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