Physician spin class creates opportunities for collegial connections and better health

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Most physicians would agree there are not enough hours in the day to fit everything in. Patients are the priority, which means “luxuries” like exercising and socializing often get pushed aside. As a result, many physicians are isolated from their colleagues and neglectful of their own fitness and health needs. A new program funded through the Vancouver Physician Staff Association (VPSA) Facility Engagement Initiative brings physicians together for fitness and for conversation. Physician-only spin classes are offered in the Centre for Cardiovascular Excellence at UBC Hospital. Classes are free and available every Tuesday at 6:30 am and every Thursday at 6:00 pm.

A personalized approach

Physicians create a profile, which they log into at the beginning of each class when they select a stationary bike. Progress is tracked and physicians are provided with objective measures of their fitness after each class so they can compare results and monitor improvement over time. Physicians also have the opportunity to participate in a monitored telemetry session providing continuous ECG. A healthy breakfast is served after each morning class, providing time to connect before getting on with the day. VPSA funding supports the trainers, cardiovascular technicians and pays for breakfast.

“So many physicians are feeling burnt out and disconnected; this class gets the endorphins flowing and helps strengthen relationships among physicians and across disciplines,” explained Dr. Saul Isserow, the physician project lead for this initiative. “When physicians look after themselves they are in a better position to look after their patients.”

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