Let’s get physical: How fit physicians at OMED stay in shape
Participants in OMED's 5K fun run/walk engage in some predawn, pre-run stretching. (Photo by Rose Raymond)
Early Tuesday in San Diego, before sunrise, some 240 DOs, students and spouses gathered for a bayside 5K run/walk sponsored by Advocates for the American Osteopathic Association. The DO caught up with some of the runners to learn their strategies for staying in shape.
Many agreed that time management is the biggest obstacle they face when it comes to staying fit. However, prioritizing fitness by making workouts part of a daily schedule is a big help, DOs and students say.
A strict routine lets Meghan A. Cooper, OMS II, cram workouts into her jam-packed student schedule. She lifts weights and runs several times a week and also carves time out to do yoga and pilates.
“I keep a good schedule to allow time for exercise and to relax and de-stress,” says Cooper, who attends the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Bradenton in Florida. “And it helps that I’m a fast reader.”
Heather Bloesser, DO, and her husband go to the YMCA every day, where they take fitness classes.
“There’s a new class we just started called Fierce,” says Dr. Bloesser, a 2010 graduate of the Kansas City (Mo.) University of Medicine and Biosciences’ College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCUMB-COM). She explained to fellow runner and KCUMB-COM alum Nancy K. Monaghan Beery, DO, that the class is tabata, a form of Japanese interval training, and it’s very intense.
“The instructor told us that in Japan, they keep a puke bucket in the classroom,” Dr. Bloesser says with a laugh.
Dr. Bloesser’s husband, Rob, says the YMCA is great because it provides child care for the couple’s young children, who are 2 and 4.
“We go to the Y because it gives us some sanity,” he says. “They can watch the kids while we work out. Then when we get home, we can all spend some quality time together relaxing instead of being irritable and feeling tired and lazy. It makes us all a little happier.”
Family physician Kristin I. Thom, DO, of Bangor, Maine, runs three to four times a week and also does weight training and yoga. Fitness is a crucial coping tool for physicians, she says.
“I’m on faculty at a family medicine residency, and I try to help residents balance self-care with their professional life,” she says. “Burnout and stress-related illness is a big problem in our line of work, and teaching students and residents how to deal with stress early is key. I was so unhappy as a resident because I didn’t take care of myself.”
Some physicians, such as NASA flight surgeon Ron C. Moomaw, DO, of Houston are even required by their employer to stay in shape.
“I work with astronauts, and we want them to stay in shape, so we can’t look out of shape ourselves,” Dr. Moomaw says.
Dr. Moomaw uses his employer-mandated workout time to run 6 kilometers three times per week and lift weights three to four times a week.
Running appeals to OMED fun-runner Todd L. Wagner, DO, of Norfolk, Va., because it’s so easy to get started. “You don’t have to get to a pool or get out your bike. You just throw on your shoes and go,” he says.