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Healthcare professionals work hard at staying fit

They spend all of their day taking care of us when we’re under the weather. But what do doctors and nurses do to stay well? Imagine being face-to-face with colds, flu and other contagious illnesses every day.

Courtney Boutwell has been a registered nurse for four years. “Since working as a nurse, I’ve been around a lot of sick people. It’s been a real motivator for me to stay fit and healthy.”

There’s no denying that a strong, healthy person just doesn’t get sick as often, and they aren’t as sick when they do catch a bug. “I really work at staying healthy,” said Boutwell. “I work on maintaining a healthy diet and I exercise regularly. I either walk outside three times a week for 30 minutes, or I’ll get on my treadmill and walk.”

Washing hands is a job requirement, and Boutwell said that it’s for a good reason. “Germs can be spread from hand to hand, then you can get sick by rubbing your nose or eyes. That’s why you always hear to wash your hands.” And one thing Boutwell does every year to prevent getting sick is get a flu shot. “We all get one, and we take turns vaccinating each other. The one year I didn’t get around to having a flu shot, I got the flu. That’s enough to make you never want to miss getting one again.”

Boutwell works for Dr. Dianne Ferguson at the Ridgeland Family Medical Clinic. “She’s a real good role model for us all.” Ferguson lives a healthy lifestyle. “I have a farm in Pickens, and I start my day each morning with a walk around the property. I try to walk 30 minutes to an hour every morning, weather permitting. I also bring my lunch to work, and it includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m not big on fast food or eating on the run.”

Becky Martin, director of marketing at the Central Mississippi Medical Center, said that since her department has been moved to the fourth floor of the hospital from an outlying building, she’s learned to add exercise to her day by taking the stairs each time she has to go downstairs. “I’m working my way to taking the stairs both up and down.”

When she hits the stairwell, Martin said she often sees many of the hospital’s doctors on the stairs as well. “On my journey downstairs, I often run into several physicians. Our hospitalists, Dr. Greg Oden and Dr. Carter Waters, along with Dr. Karen Houston, Dr. Mickey Wallace, Dr. Al Figueroa, Dr. Joyce Olutade and Dr. Saloum Cisse have all found that the stairs are a great way to add exercise to their day to stay healthy and fit.”

Dr. Chad Rhodes is head of preventative medicine for Baptist Health Systems. With an employee population of more than 2,700 people, Rhodes is charged with health education. “I’d love to have everyone who works here take the stairs, for fitness sake. The problem with many tall buildings is that the stairwells are designed primarily as emergency escapes. Maybe architects could work to design stairwells that are more user-friendly so that people would want to take the stairs more often.”

To stay healthy and fit, particularly in cold in flu season, take note from the medical professionals. A healthy diet and exercise can help build one’s immune system, keeping illness at bay.

Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at andersonwrites@yahoo.com .

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