In this 2-part series, we take a look at the elements of wellness and the areas involved in disease and health.
Wellness is represented as a state of health related to your lifestyle, and takes a proactive and preventative approach to achieve optimum health. It is an active process through which we make choices to provide for weight control, proper nutrition, exercise, and controlling risk factors such as drug- and alcohol abuse and smoking.
It is essential for us to be educated and take charge of our habits and daily choices, as they have a paramount influence on our health. Medical care is not the answer to a healthy lifestyle – consistent self-care is!
The Holistic Wellness philosophy maintains that each individual is comprised of body, spirit and mind, and all of these components must be taken into account for a person to be well.
Wellness is broken down into the following components:
- Mental – Thinking patterns, feelings, beliefs and behavior is a factor in health. Positivity is empowerment. Positive thinking puts you in control, provides you with answers and a way out of problems. Negativity only strips you of self-empowerment.
- Spiritual – It is important to look for the good in all things in life. Everything happens for a reason, and there is always an important lesson in all things.
- Physical – Health involves taking care of your body – good nourishment, exercise and good body composition are important for physical wellness. Your body is a temple.
- Nutritional – You are what you eat, so make sure your food choices are such that you eat for optimum health!
- Life Skills – In order to go through life with success, you need the proper tools and ‘know-how’ to navigate it.
- Sleep – A very overlooked factor in many individuals’ lives. A good have a night’s rest is needed to refuel, recuperate, prepare you mentally and physically, to grow and heal.
Now that you have a better perception of wellness, remember that it is an active process . Don’t wait for others to fix your problems. Be actively involved in your overall health to achieve a balance. Ask questions and learn from your health care providers. A health professional is only there to help facilitate the healing process – your body, spirit and mind do all the healing.
Lastly, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Part 2 We take a look at physical wellness and fitness!
In Part 1 we looked at the components of wellness and important factors for achieving overall optimum health.
Part 2 discusses Physical Wellness – physical fitness, good nutrition and lifestyle choices.
Physical wellness speaks directly to lifestyle management – regular physical activity, healthy food choices and avoiding the use of tobacco, drugs and too much alcohol.
As you travel the road of physical wellness, you will learn to read your body’s vital signs, recognize warning signs and understand the relationship between sound nutrition and how your body performs.
The physical dimension of wellness relates directly to looking great and feeling good, which ultimately results in better self-esteem, a sense of direction and determination to stay on your wellness path.
Physical Fitness – What is it?
Fitness is considered to be a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently at work and leisure activities, and the ability of an individual to live a healthy, useful and productive life.
Physically fit people have power, endurance and strength, and work more efficiently without wasting energy. Fitness is achieved through regular exercise, rest and good nutrition.
Physical fitness include Flexibility, Strength, a Lean Body, Cardiovascular Fitness and Muscular Endurance and skills such as Balance, Speed, Agility, Coordination and Power.
Staying physically fit have a long list of benefits, such as:
- Increased mental focus
- Increased energy
- Lower stress levels
- Better self-esteem
- Lowered risk of heart attack and osteoporosis
- Reduced depression
- Reduced risk of breast cancer
A well-balanced diet is an integral part of a healthy body and without the proper fuel, your body will not perform optimally.
Follow these tips to eat for optimal health:
Eat lean protein such as chicken breast, turkey, white fish, veal, salmon, haddock, lean red meat. Cut off all skin and visible fat before cooking.
Avoid processed foods where possible.
Cut sugar, fat, and salt from your diet.
Include ‘good’ fats such as olives, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
Stay away from refined carbs such as biscuits, doughnuts, pastries, cake etcetera. Replace them with complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, butternut, brown or wild rice.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Drink at least 2l of water a day.
Cut out energy drinks and fizzy drinks. Pure fruit juice is alright, dilute with water where possible.
Go easy on caffeine. Drink rooibos and green tea.
Remember, everything in moderation!
Unhealthy lifestyle choices
Unhealthy lifestyle choices can be potentially dangerous. Learn to identify your destructive habits, and take the necessary steps to eliminate them for your life.
Going without exercise, overeating or binging, smoking, consuming too much alcohol and living on fast food can all be detrimental to your health.
Steps you can take to improve physical wellness
- Exercise at least 3 times a week, for 30-60 minutes a session.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Eat breakfast to start your day.
- Eat a variety of healthy, nutritious food.
- Have smaller meals 4-6 times daily, instead of 3 bigger meals so as to avoid overeating and to regulate blood sugar.
- Protect yourself from second-hand smoke, and quit smoking if you do.
- Use alcohol, fat, sugar and salt in moderation.
In summary, if you take care of your body, it will take care of you.
Make the decision today to start living an active and balanced life. You will thank yourself for it in the years to come!
By Letitia Kleynhans