5 Powerful Reasons Yoga is Great for Nurses

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"Yoga means addition. Addition of energy, strength and beauty to body, mind and soul." ― Amit Ray

If you have always said to yourself that you will try yoga “someday,” today’s the day! Since social distancing is currently in effect and most of the gyms are closed, it may be tough to think of ways to lower stress while keeping your body moving. Nurses are especially among those who are experiencing never before seen levels of anxiety. Here are 5 powerful reasons why yoga is great for nurses:

1. Yoga Strengthens Your Core

Being a nurse often requires walking up to 15,000 steps or more in a single shift. A study found in the National Library of Medicine reported that many nurses could walk up to 10 miles in an average 12-hour shift. Having strong core muscles is foundational to maintaining strength and flexibility with the rest of your body.

2. Yoga Helps with Stress Management

Being a nurse during these strange and unusual times has nurses feeling high levels of stress, sadness, and anxiety. Any exercise will help relieve stress by keeping the body healthy and releasing endorphins, natural hormones that make you feel better. Yoga also reduces stress through stretching. When you are stressed, tension is stored in the body, making you feel tight and often causing pain. Practicing the art of yoga raises serotonin levels, a chemical in your brain that will release those “happy” feelings in your body. Breathing techniques, along with the yoga positions themselves invokes relaxation as well.

3. Yoga Tackles Chronic Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common complaint among nurses because of the amount of time spent on their feet. Certain yoga poses target specific muscles, such as the hamstring, which are a group of muscles that are at the rear of the upper legs. Check out this video by “Yoga with Adriene” for yoga poses that help with lower back pain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeXz8fIZDCE

4. Yoga Helps you Focus

Nurses need to have exceptional focus to fulfill their tasks. According to CBS News, doing yoga for even 20 minutes can strengthen your focus. Yoga enhances brain speed as well as accuracy, as concluded by brain function tests. Practicing yoga rids the mind and body of distracting thoughts and redirects to focusing on the task at hand, with effects lasting well after the yoga session is complete.

5. Yoga is a Wonderful Independent Exercise

During this time of social distancing, exercise is still necessary, but we all have to be aware of our proximity to our friends and neighbors. Yoga is a great form of exercise that can be done alone in a living room or your backyard.

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Written by Heather Morris

SAMC’s Nurse Residency Coordinator

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