As doctors, many of us are good at spotting the warning signs and suggesting how to reduce risk. But are we taking the time to heed our own advice?
Stress can have a negative impact on health – playing havoc with our immune system and increasing our chances of a heart attack.
We recommend our patients engage in 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week as a way to control their stress levels – in reality, only one in five doctors are achieving this goal.
NICE’s guidance on physical activity in the workplace mentions those people working in the NHS. By making minor changes to our daily routine and incorporating physical activity into the workplace we can start to see the benefits, the guidance says.
The renowned cycle to work scheme is a useful option for some GPs who have a designated practice car for their home visits. And NICE also suggests choosing an ‘active travel champion’ who will organise activities to encourage more physical exercise during the working day.
These simple ideas taken from the NICE guidance are easy to put into practice, and they could help you and your colleagues fit some physical activity into their increasingly busy working day.
I recently put forward a suggestion at a GP conference about creating team activities for groups of people working at clusters of local GP surgeries. This could include a weekly yoga session or a monthly hike. All it would need is a designated person to help co-ordinate the group’s activities.
My hope is that we will all start looking after ourselves as well as we care for our patients. Let’s start listening to our own advice!