What do you do to avoid health problems associated with sitting for hours each day?
You don't need tables and facts to know that as you age, you tend to become less active. Careers, marriages, children, and community service can all take their toll, and eventually something has to go.
For too many of us, what goes is time spent on keeping fit. For radiologists, this problem is compounded by a sedentary work environment. Most of us sit in front of a bank of computer terminals for nine hours a day without moving. It probably requires significant effort just to get up and walk to the candy machine in the ER.
I'm convinced that keeping fit requires daily, consistent work. Just like everything else in life, the greater the effort you exert, the better the results. Unfortunately, the most difficult part of fitness is getting fit, not staying fit. This is where most people decide it's not worth the effort. Going from out of shape to in shape is painful, and results take weeks or months to feel.
“You’ll never regret a workout you completed, but you will regret the one you cancelled.” — Maryellyn Gilfeather, MD, FACR
If it's been a while, you might want to begin with a physical to be sure everything is in working order. Start with 20 minutes a day over one month, then move up to an hour a day. Every day. Don't excuse yourself because of the weather, daylight savings time, or lack of sleep the night before. You'll never regret a workout you completed, but you will regret the one you cancelled.
These recommendations are not only supported by data but also come from my personal experience. I made a huge effort to get fit about 10 years ago, and I have stayed fit, just by working at it every day. Feeling fir is luxurious and wonderful, and no physician needs to be reminded of the health benefits of physical fitness. You spend your entire career taking care of others. Now it's time to take care of yourself.
Maryellyn Gilfeather, MD, FACR
Radiologist, Utah Imaging Associates, Bountiful, Utah
Adjunct associate professor, Department of Radiology, University of Utah Salt Lake City
President, Utah State Radiological Society