Monday, November 15, 2010

A 15 minute Workout fit for medical residents

We preach to our patients on a daily basis that an exercise regimen is an essential element to living a healthy life. I have partnered with my good friend and fitness model Amanda Russell to bring easy to do workouts to the medical community. Having competed in marathons and triathlons prior to residency, I know find that my workout is the first thing to go on an extensive to do list (on my days outside of the hospital). I no longer have time for the endurance workouts I have done in the past. Amanda's entire fitness message (The AR Program) is about achieving a runner's body without running all the miles.  Having worked out with her on many occasions I have come to agree with her vision of quality over quantity. Check out this video on a 15 minute rejuvination workout, that any resident can make time for. Also check out her website at Glad to have a workout that can keep me and my HOSPITALstyle in shape. Thanks Amanda!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

5 Tips for Marathon Day

It is marathon week in New York City. The banners are hung. The race route scouted out. The city of New York is ready to welcome thousands of international runners and spectators. I will be working the medical tent at mile 24, so if you are around please come say hello! Having run the marathon in the past I have 5 tips for a successful and healthy marathon.

1. Avoid NSAIDS (like ibuprofen) which can precipitate electrolyte imbalances during high endurance athletic events.

2. Drink no more than 1 cup of a sodium containing sports drink every 20 minutes to avoid hyer-hydration and hyponatremia (low sodium) see attached post:

3. Pace yourself the first 13 miles (run slower than you feel you can, the good race depends on the second half). There are often pace bands that you can keep on your wrist and check each mile marker.

4. Increase salt intake 3 days prior to race (unless you have high blood pressure). Bring a packet of salt to take around mile 20 to prevent muscle cramping. You can pick this up at any local fast food establishment, or deli around the city.

5. Keep warm before the race. There is an area to throw off your extra layers at the start and they then donate these items to charity. Stay warm. Help others.

On marathon Sunday in NYC the best parts of the city are on display. It's sense of community. It's energy. It's inherent value of achievement.  It's beauty.  Run hard. Run fast. I will be there cheering you on!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why higher suicide rates in Medicine?

There was a recent article published in the NY Times about the increased risk of suicide in medical students and doctors.

This article displays the EXACT reason why I started this blog about healthcare lifestyle. The truth is we need it. We need balance.  There is an interesting dichotomy that while we are devoted to others, we often forget to take care of ourselves.  The stressors we face on a daily basis constitute a psych consult for ourselves.  However, there are many colleagues who are experiencing the same situations day in and day out to whom we can turn if needed.

Ever since reading this article, I am not quite sure (having been/going through) the process of the cause of this increased risk of suicide in doctors.  I have seen burn out, but I have also seen some of the most committed, driven, and intelligent people I have ever met who meet obstacle after case after problem with a calm demeanor.  Perhaps it is not the type of people, but the process which entails hours of isolated study, numerous examinations and continuous evaluation until your 30's, lots of medical student debt that continues to accrue despite earning probably less than minimum wage throughout residency, meanwhile managing your patient's emotions, sickness, and death along the way. 

Medicine is a field in which we need to prove ourselves over and over day in and day out.  There is always a looming lawsuit around every corner.  Our hours are irregular and often offset from the rest of the workforce.  Despite all these things, the type A personality, who is achievement driven can escape victorious in having conquered all of the aforementioned demons along the way of becoming a doctor.  And I truly believe that it is worth it. Maybe that means I am crazy, or maybe it means that I believe in the true value and calling of what our profession stands for and strives for.  Maybe the arduous road is to weed out those who do not belong among us, but at what cost? I think that we must do more for eachother.  We as doctors need to figure out why our suicide rates are higher and we must do something about it. Now! We cannot spare another colleague's death.