Eat well. Hydrate. Sleep well. Be active – not reactive. Be preventative – not destructive. These elements are the brick and mortar that lay the foundation for physical wellness. Balanced physical health will provide an ability to complete all daily activities and obligations without undue fatigue or stress. In a profession that can crack every one of these bricks, yet demands our longevity, we must not neglect physical wellness and all it encompasses.
Ergonomics. Let’s face it – we put ourselves in some really funny positions to do our jobs. Think about the poses we strike to inject joints, perform flexion exams or a dental exam. And for ambulatory veterinarians, you may be sitting as much as you move. This all takes a toll on the body.
Ergonomics is the study of efficiency in one’s work environment. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture, and repeated tasks. The following resources can help veterinarians gain awareness of needed changes to routines in the veterinary environment.
- Practice Vehicle Ergonomics – EquiManagement
- Ergonomic Tips for Driving – Ergonomics Simplified
- Veterinary Safety and Health - The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Exercise. Research abounds regarding the positive effects of physical activity. Equine veterinarians are physical as a requirement of our profession; however, the physicality of our daily job is NOT a substitute for physical activity. Regular aerobic exercise and strength training can extend the longevity of your career.
Get started with these tools:
- Mayo Clinic Fitness Assessment
- How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?
- And: Coming Back After Injury or Disability: Advice for Equine Pracititoners - Equimanagement
Nutrition and Sleep. Eating consistently or even eating at all may be a challenge for some during the work day. This coupled with eating well during and after work can go the way of getting your 30 minutes of physical activity, 80 oz. of water and eight hours of sleep – away!
The path to eating well involves knowledge and planning:
- Health Eating for a Healthy Weight
- WaterMinder Hydration App – Available through iTunes and Google Play
- Blue Apron and Hello Fresh home food delivery services
- Sleeping Well in the Digital Age - Georgetown University
Preventative Medicine. From an annual examination to wearing appropriate footwear, regular screenings and the right tools for daily work can prevent many medical conditions.