Nina Lightdale, Orthopedic Surgeon and Runner—June 1, 2007

It helps to be fit when you operate (literally) in the ultra-competitive, male-dominated world of orthopedic surgery. So Dr. Nina Lightdale squeezes workouts into her hectic life. Here's how she does it:

She's a hand surgeon who puts in 80-hour workweeks while living the single life in bustling New York City. Yet 33-year-old Nina Lightdale, M.D., a fellow at the renowned Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, still manages to run several races a year in preparation for the New York City Marathon. Lightdale tells that her motivation to stay in shape is actually a direct result of the heavy demands of her challenging career. Being a doctor, says Lightdale, means "giving of myself all day long. When I put on my running shoes, I know I'm about to do something just for me."

Model doc: "It is important to patients that I lead by example. When I suggest that someone lose weight or get fit, I want to be seen as a symbol of strength. If I look strong, healthy, well-rested, and energized, it builds my patients' trust in me."

Stress release: "When I run after work, I tend to enjoy it more because it helps me work out the frustrations of the day. In the morning I often feel like I'm rushing to get my workout done. If I'm lucky I get to run three or four days a week, but I always commit to a long run every weekend."


Weighting it out: "Last year I had tendinitis in my Achilles, so I started stretching a lot. I began to run more around the reservoir in Central Park, which has a dirt path instead of pavement. Since my injury, I've started cross-training, adding spinning classes and strength training to my workouts. Even though I'd rather be running than lifting weights, I know varying my routine is going to make my running better and safer."


Excuse buster: "My work schedule and the demands of my job are great reasons to never exercise. Don't make excuses! Take time for yourself. Staying fit will improve your life in every respect."


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