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Indiana University School of Medicine

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Physical

Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep

Why is it Important?

One study in Colombia showed that in medical students, poor sleep quality was statistically associated with poor academic performance.14

Sleep deprivation has been shown to predispose to burnout, and burnout may affect sleep quality.15

Students who followed CDC exercise and/or strength training guidelines reported lower levels of burnout and had a higher quality of life.16

Diet

Information and Resources

If you have any chronic medical conditions, talk to your PCP about which diet is best for you. It is not known what diet is most beneficial for the general population, however the best diet is the one that you can adhere to.17

The WHO recommends a diet low in saturated and trans fats, free sugars, and salt, and high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.18

Other diets include vegetarian, low salt, DASH, etc.

Meal prepping is a great way to save time by cooking food for multiple days in one sitting.

The MyFitnessPal app is a useful tool for tracking calories and nutrients.

Use this DRI calculator to find out the recommended amounts of calories, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals for your body type and activity level.

Try out new recipes and see which ones you like most.

Recommendations/Reflections

  • Meal prep on Sundays for the entire week to save time.
  • Pack a lunch so you can stay at your study location longer.
  • Crock pots are a good way to easily make a lot of food.
  • Buy food in bulk so you spend less time grocery shopping.

Exercise

Information and Resources

You can search for your campus and then Campus Life/Personal Recreation to find opportunities on your home campus.

Bodyweight exercises/outdoor running can be an effective workout for those without access to gym facilities.

Per the CDC, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.19

Recommendations/Reflections

  • Listen to Pathoma/Golijan/Lectures while exercising or do notecards/read while on an elliptical or stationary bike if you feel guilty about exercising.
  • Focus on your breathing or another physical sensation during exercise to turn it into a meditative activity.
  • Workout with friends to combine physical and social wellness, as well as have a source of accountability.
  • Create a workout routine so it’s easier to maintain over time.
  • Track your workouts to monitor your progress and encourage yourself.

Sleep

Information and Resources

Blue light filter apps on phones and computers may help reduce eye strain at night and increase sleep quality.

Sleep Cycle apps on your phone can help you figure out bedtimes so that you wake up at the end of a 90-minute sleep cycle rather than in the middle of one. This may improve sleep quality.

Recommendations/Reflections20

  • Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Limit daytime naps to 30 min.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy, or acidic foods before bed.
  • Establish a bedtime routine and dedicated sleep environment.
  • Avoid excess light exposure at night, especially from electronic screens.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same times every night, if possible.