“Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” ~ Edward Stanley, English clergyman, Bishop of Norwich 1837-1849
The physical dimension of wellness encourages cardiovascular flexibility and strength and also encourages regular, physical activity. Physical development encourages knowledge about food and nutrition and discourages the use of tobacco, drugs and excessive alcohol consumption. Physical Wellness encourages consumption and activities which contribute to high level wellness, including medical self-care and appropriate use of the medical system.
Everyone knows that exercise can help you stay trim and in shape, but there are a number of health benefits sometimes overlooked:
- Helps prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
- Improves your overall mood
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Reduces stress
- Strengthens muscles, bones, and joints
- Improves metabolism and increases your energy level
- Strengthens immune system
- Helps prevent depressions
- Increases bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis
As you travel the physical wellness path, you’ll strive to spend more time each week building endurance, flexibility and physical strength. Sometimes the path may become narrow and treacherous-you’ll become more aware of the hazards around you and you’ll begin to take safety precautions so you may travel your path successfully. The physical dimension of wellness entails taking responsibility and care for minor illnesses and also knowing when professional medical attention is needed.
By traveling the wellness path, physically, you’ll be able to monitor your own vital signs and understand your body’s warning signs. You’ll understand and appreciate the relationship between sound nutrition and how your body performs. The physical dimension of wellness provides almost immediate beneficial results—both physical and psychological. The physical benefits of looking good and feeling terrific most often lead to the psychological benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control determination and a sense of direction.
Steps for Improving Physical Wellness / Physical Fitness
Below are some steps you can take:
- Exercise at least three time a week, 20-30 minutes per session
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, and walk whenever possible
- Get consistent and adequate sleep
- Use seat belts and helmets, and encourage others to do so
- Learn to recognize early signs of illness
- Listen to your body
- Stop smoking and protect yourself against second-hand smoke
- Eat breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day; Eat a variety of healthy foods while using sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol in moderation. You may want to review the Go-Slow-Whoa Foods Chart.
- Control your meal portions and try to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. You may want to take the Portion Distortion Quiz.
Types of Exercise
There are three types of exercise that are recommended for optional health:
- Aerobic exercise,
- Strength training, and
- Lifestyle exercise.
If you are just beginning to exercise, you should follow the advice of your doctor as to what kind, how often and how long to exercise.
Aerobic exercise helps strengthen your heart and lungs. Factors that affect aerobic exercise include how often you perform the aerobic activity, the amount of time you spend at each session, and the intensity (or percentage) of our maximum heart rate. Refer to Exercise Intensity Levels.
Perform aerobic exercise:
- 3-5 times per week
- 20-60 minutes each time
- At 60-85 percent of your maximum heart rate, OR
- At 50-60 percent of your maximum heart rate if you are just starting an exercise program or have a heart condition.
Strength training can help tone muscles, increase strength and bone density, improve posture, and even reduce the potential for injury. In addition, strength training helps increase your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories on a daily basis. You should participate in a strength training routine that incorporates all of your major muscle groups 2-3 times a week. Before you begin your strength training routine, it is recommended that you receive the go-ahead from your doctor and receive instruction from a gym or personal trainer.
You might find it hard to fit “traditional” exercise into your busy lifestyle, but by using a handful of these quick and simple “lifestyle” exercises every day, you will burn more calories on a daily basis. Try them at work, at home, or while on vacation!
- Park Far Away – by parking farther away from the entrance to work or shopping, you can easily add valuable steps (exercise) to your busy day.
- Bathroom Breaks – instead of using the bathroom closest to your desk or office, walk to another one down the hall or on another floor.
- Power-walk Lunch – by eating a well-balanced lunch and walking for the duration of your lunch break, you can easily incorporate a mini-aerobic workout into your busy day. Even if you only have 30 minutes, a quick walk around your office building is an easy way to add physical activity to your busy schedule.
- Play with your Kids (or others) – a simple game of kickball or a round of hoops with the kids is an excellent way to burn calories. By scheduling a daily family (or friends) activity, it is easy to stay active while having fun with your family or friends at the same time. Schedule the activity for roughly the same time every day when everyone can participate.
- Do Your Chores – everyday household chores provide an easy (and efficient) way to stay active with a busy lifestyle. Mowing the lawn with a push-mower, sweeping and mopping the kitchen and bathroom, or vacuuming the house are great ways to burn calories while keeping your home in top shape.
You may also want to review CSQuest articles Get Fit with SoonerFit, Post-Holiday Wellness Tips, Why Walking is Good for You, 12 Habits of Super-Healthy People, and 5 Ways to Tune Up Your Body in 5 Minutes.
“Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.” ~ Denis Waitley, Doctor of Human Behavior