How to Establish an Exercise Routine as a Dietetic Intern

How to Establish an Exercise Routine as a Dietetic Intern | Food & Nutrition | Student Scoop
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We know that physical activity provides countless health benefits, but amidst the stress of your internship it may be easy to let this healthy habit fall by the wayside. However, through incorporating and maintaining a regular exercise regimen during your program, you may see benefits in both your health and professional performance.

Why Exercise is Important

In addition to improvements in cardiovascular health, muscle function and blood glucose regulation, exercise also benefits your mind. As you undergo the continual pressure of evaluations, exercise can help relieve stress and boost cognitive performance, possibly producing a better internship experience.

How to Incorporate Exercise into Your Routine

Time is the most commonly cited barrier to exercise for the general population. However, most people have more time than they realize when time spent watching television or browsing social media is considered. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “best” time to workout — only whatever works for you. While some enjoy exercising first thing in the morning, others prefer sleeping in. If you know certain days throughout the week are busier than others, try planning your workouts on lighter days.

When exercising, it’s important to choose an activity you can sustain and enjoy. Burnout often occurs when people try to do too much too fast or do an activity they hate. Try a fitness class at your local gym, lift weights with a fellow intern or go for a walk with your roommate.

Cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility training are all important for an overall healthy lifestyle, so be sure to incorporate each into your routine. Keep things simple and choose exercises that give you the most bang for your buck. For resistance training, this means incorporating movements which work major muscle groups (i.e. legs, back, chest, arms). Proper form is essential for safety, so if you have any questions regarding exercise execution seek out a fitness professional for guidance.

Even if you’re new to exercise, it’s never too late to reap these benefits. Start out slow and gradually progress in frequency, intensity and duration. Exercise is a wonderful habit which you can maintain even after your internship!

Mitch Zaplatosch
Mitch Zaplatosch, MS, is a dietetic intern at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA hospital in Illinois. He also is an ACE-certified personal trainer with 4 years of experience training people of a variety of ages and health conditions.