Stay Fit! Quick Workouts for the Busy Physician

Plank Exercise

Two hours and 30 minutes a week.

That’s the amount of moderate intensity physical activity that delivers the most health benefits, according to the “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” published by the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 

Good luck committing 150 minutes a week to working out–especially when you’re a busy physician who is working up to 80 hours a week, trying to find time for your family and also attempting to sleep once in a while. 

How is a busy physician, with so little time and so much riding on the profession, supposed to find time to exercise? By breaking down their workouts into easily digestible, 15-minute bites of daily exercise that include these seven easy and efficient moves: 

1) Lateral and Forward Neck Flexion

The key to making sure your in-the-office workout is effective is to spend a little time on each area of the body–from top to bottom. 

Start by taking a seat and then flexing your neck to the left and then to the right. Once you’ve finished 10 lateral reps, do the same thing forward and backwards 10 times to increase neck strength and flexibility. 

2) Shoulder Rolls

Since you are already sitting down, you might as well do some seated shoulder rolls to take care of stress and tension while improving circulation to the joints. Roll them forward 10 times and backwards 10 times. 

3) Chair Dips

Now that your shoulders are warmed up, its time to work the triceps by performing some chair dips. Start by standing over the edge of your chair, body leaning forward, knees flexed. Place your hands on the armrests and slowly lower your body downward into a sitting position.

Put as much weight as you can handle on your triceps for two sets of 10 repetitions in order to tighten up the back of your upper arms. 

4) Isometric Squeezes and Biceps Curls

After you’ve tightened the triceps, move on to the biceps. Start by doing some isometric bicep contractions, which will work to tone and tighten your upper arms. Then grab a book, bottle of water or anything else that’s easy to hold onto and curl them. Do two sets of 10 on each arm to tighten and build your biceps. 

5) Plank

Planking strengthens your core, improves posture and balance, reduces back pain and makes you more flexible.   

And you can easily plan in your office without dropping down onto the floor. Here’s a look at four office-friendly plank poses, courtesy of, that every busy physician can do throughout the day or incorporate into their lunch breaks. 

6) Inner- and Outer-Thigh Contractions

As a physician, you probably spend a good part of your day on your feet. Stronger, leaner legs allow you to keep going longer. Luckily, you can strengthen and tone your thighs without actually lifting any weights or going for a long run or ride. 

Contract your thigh muscles for five seconds at a time, 15 times in a row. Work your way around your thighs throughout the day. Nobody but you will know that you’re working out!

7) Calf Raises

Every now and then, stop where you’re standing, square your back and shoulders, point your toes forward and lift your heels off the ground by contracting your calves. 

Do two sets of 15 several times a day to strengthen and tone your calf muscles and improve lower extremity circulation. 

These seven exercises might not replace going to the gym, but they are an easy way for a busy physician to work 150 minutes of exercise into the work week. 

*Please note that this blog does not endorse specific exercise regimens or the companies that promote them. Exercise is an individual choice to be made carefully based on your own personal goals, health etc.

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