Staying Fit on the Move: A Traveling Nurse's Guide to Fitness

This blog post delves into the dynamic challenges and solutions for maintaining a fitness routine as a traveling nurse. Facing the dual hurdles of demanding hours and ever-changing environments, it outlines practical, adaptable workout strategies that cater to the unique lifestyle of healthcare professionals on the move. From maximizing small spaces with bodyweight exercises to embracing the outdoors and utilizing hotel amenities for effective workouts, this post offers a holistic approach to fitness. It emphasizes the importance of setting SMART goals, leveraging technology to track progress, and incorporating high-intensity workouts for those days when time is scarce. Above all, it underscores the necessity of routine and consistency, ensuring that physical health remains a non-negotiable part of one's daily life, akin to the dedication given to patient care.

Brett Rickord

1/24/20243 min read

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blue and black nike athletic shoes

As a traveling nurse, my journey to maintaining a fitness routine has been a rollercoaster of challenges and triumphs. Between the demanding hours and ever-changing locations, finding the time and space for exercise often felt like an impossible task. It was a struggle to find consistency when my environment was anything but constant. Yet, the need for physical fitness became apparent as I juggled long shifts and the stress that comes with healthcare work. The increased stamina and better stress management that came with a steady workout regimen were undeniable. Whether you’re in a hotel room or at a local park, these recommendations are designed to be compact, effective, and adaptable to your busy and unpredictable schedule.

Making the Most of Your Surroundings

Outdoor Workouts:

When you can, take your fitness routine outside. Combine a run or brisk walk with intervals of bodyweight exercises in a local park for a full-body workout and mental refresh. This also provides an opportunity to explore and connect with the new city!

Utilizing Hotel Amenities:

If your accommodation includes a gym or pool, take advantage of it! A quick 20-minute interval session on the treadmill followed by a strength training circuit can greatly enhance your cardiovascular health and muscle strength.

Compact and Effective Workout Routines

Bodyweight Exercises for Small Spaces:

Maximize your fitness potential in confined spaces with a targeted circuit of bodyweight exercises. Here's a routine that has kept me on track:

  • Push-Ups: 3 sets of 10-15 reps to engage the upper body.

  • Planks: 3 sets, holding for 30-60 seconds to challenge the core.

  • Squats: 3 sets of 15-20 reps for robust lower body strength.

  • Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg to foster balance and leg endurance.

  • Sit-Ups: 3 sets of 15-20 reps for resilient core muscles.

These exercises are designed to fit into the limited space of a hotel room or temporary accommodation, requiring no equipment and making them perfect for the nomadic lifestyle of a traveling healthcare worker.

Resistance Bands: A Traveler’s Best Friend:

Embrace the versatility of resistance bands with these effective workouts:

  • Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 12-15 reps for arm strength.

  • Tricep Extensions: 3 sets of 12-15 reps to target the back of the arms.

  • Shoulder Presses: 3 sets of 10-12 reps for upper body power.

  • Leg Presses: 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg to strengthen the lower body.

Staying Motivated and Tracking Fitness

Setting Realistic Goals:

Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals has been a game-changer for me. For instance, instead of a generic aim to 'stay fit,' a SMART goal would be 'to complete a 30-minute yoga session every other day for the next six weeks.' This approach makes goals attainable and trackable!

Using Technology to Stay on Track:

Fitness apps and wearable devices are excellent for monitoring your progress. Use a fitness app to create a weekly workout plan, set reminders for workout times, and track progress through metrics such as completed workout days, increased reps, or longer planks.

Incorporating Exercise into a Busy Schedule

Short, High-Intensity Workouts:

On those extra busy days, turn to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). A 20-minute session could include cycles of high knees, push-ups, squats, and rest, which are great for maintaining cardiovascular health in a time-efficient manner.

Routine and Consistency:

Developing a consistent exercise routine is pivotal for traveling healthcare professionals. It's about integrating short, manageable workouts into your daily life. To maintain consistency, plan your workouts like any other critical appointment, allocating specific times for exercise each day, such as a 15-minute bodyweight session in the morning or a quick jog after your shift. It's the small, daily efforts that lead to substantial changes over time, ensuring that exercise remains a non-negotiable part of your routine, just like patient care!


Maintaining fitness as a traveling healthcare worker is essential for coping with the demands of such a dynamic profession. The strategies discussed aim to assist in building a consistent and adaptable fitness regimen. By prioritizing your physical health, you can ensure that you're always at your best, ready to face the challenges of your role with energy and resilience. Remember, the key to success in staying fit while on the move lies in flexibility and a commitment to incorporating exercise into your daily routine, wherever you may be!