Medical School

Walking Counts as Exercise! Plus thoughts on the NICU

What I neglected to mention in my previous post about moving to Brooklyn was that I’ve been walking everywhere! Because of the location of the hospital relative to my apartment I end up walking 1.5 miles per day. And I love it! My neighborhood is beautiful to walk through and it’s a bonus that walking turns out to be so healthy. It makes me feel less guilty about not working out everyday.

How could you not appreciate every moment of walking down a street like this?!

Something I realized too is that walking prevents me from feeling….well, gross. You know when you just don’t really move at all for an entire day and then don’t exercise and you feel like the absolute worst? Walking so much everyday has eliminated that feeling! Don’t get me wrong, there are still days I feel like a total bum, but I take comfort in knowing that I spent part of the day being somewhat active. And then a couple of days a week I add in a bootcamp, core fusion, or TRX class and I’m all set 🙂

On an unrelated note, I felt it would be worthwhile to share some of my thoughts about working in the NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit). Partly because I am selfishly so in love with it but also partly because there’s so much to learn! First off, something practical. For any first time soon-to-be-moms out there- this is important! When babies are first born there are a ton of different rashes they can get that are all benign (normal/ nothing to be concerned about). Some of these rashes look so scary, when in reality it’s all about the baby just readjusting to being outside of the womb.

This is called a salmon patch. It turns red at the skin surface because blood vessels get stretched. It’s very common within the first 2-3 days of life and eventually resolves on its own.

If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to visit Stanford’s website complete with tons of pictures!

Another interesting health tidbit is related to diabetes. When a pregnant woman has diabetes glucose (sugar) can cross the placenta to the baby. This means the baby has to make lots of extra insulin to keep it’s own blood sugar at a normal level (because incidentally, the insulin mom makes does not cross the placenta). Insulin induces growth factors, which causes the baby to grow to be larger than he/she otherwise would have. This doesn’t always happen, but there are many other complications that can occur with diabetes as well.

Science aside, what impresses me the most about the NICU is the social aspect. Words cannot explain how amazing it is to witness the way that mothers, fathers, grandparents, and any other family members look at their new babies. They are in awe (and, to be honest, I AM TOO). It is the.literal.greatest.

How could you NOT love this muffin?!

I was always under the impression that babies (and kids in general) were much harder to diagnose and treat because they couldn’t tell you what was wrong. So much of what we do in medicine depends on what information our patients give us! But now that I’ve gone through my pediatric rotation I realized that I had it all backwards. Babies are MUCH easier to care for medically. The reason why is that they almost always present the same exact way for a given problem. For example, a baby in respiratory distress will breath very quickly and will also use extra muscles (like abdominal and chest wall muscles) to breath- if it’s very bad, the baby will also have flared nostrils. Babies don’t have voluntary control over their actions the way that adults do, and in this way I’ve noticed they fit “textbook definitions” of diseases much more easily. The really good neonatologists can sometimes tell what’s wrong with a baby just by looking at him/her without even doing a physical exam. Basically, what I’ve learned is that kids are very, very reliable! And at the end of the day if they are old enough to lie to you, you can offer them a sticker in exchange for honesty and they will cooperate instantly.

Next week will be my last with Peds and then I’m onto psychiatry. Working in the nursery in particular has completely transformed my experience in such a positive way! I feel so lucky to share in the experience of such a significant life changing event for other families, and to be surrounded by so much happiness everyday. I will miss it!


3 thoughts on “Walking Counts as Exercise! Plus thoughts on the NICU

  1. I’d give you walking is better than nothing, but exercise? C’mon now. Of course, knowing you it’s probably ten minute miles so I’d have to give you that. 😜

    • I know I know but truthfully the research shows a good amount of walking each day has the same health benefits as vigorous exercise a few times per week! So at the end of the day better to encourage manageable activity over nothing! And yes I guess I walk pretty fast haha

      • Now see, the study I saw says it takes 50 hours of walking to equal one of rigorous. It’s all good as long as we’re happy though, because that’s what counts.

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