“A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession” – Hippocrates
Physical wellness is important because your body needs to be healthy so you can perform to the best of your ability in all areas of your life. Your body and its general state of being is reflective of how you live your life. It’s no mystery that taking care of your physical well-being is extremely important to your health and happiness. A balance of physical activity and nutrition that allows you to keep your body functioning at it’s best. There is a lot of complicated information out there about the latest health and fitness trends but managing your health can be made easy if you break it down into these five important areas of physical wellness.
It’s common knowledge that most people need 8 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy and alert. However, many people, especially young people, don’t understand the importance of maintaining a regular sleep cycle. While staying up till 3am and sleeping in till noon might contain enough hours of sleep, it will leave your body unprepared to go to bed at 10 pm the next night and wake up for work or school at 6am. Your body craves a regular routine especially when it comes to sleep. If your sleep cycle is constantly being disrupted, many negative symptoms can erupt such as extreme fatigue, sluggishness, memory issues, emotional instability and even an increase in sicknesses.
2. Eating Well
Contrary to what most people think, eating healthy doesn’t mean feeling hungry all the time or eating nothing but lettuce for the rest of your life. Much like sleep, your body likes consistency when it comes to what and when you eat. Regularly eating healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains will give you the nutrients that not only support your body’s vital functions but can balance your mental well-being as well. Eating too much when you aren’t hungry or making yourself skip meals can have metabolic consequences that can upset your physical and mental health. Don’t forget that drinking plenty of water goes hand in hand with eating right.
3. Physical Activity
Like eating healthy, exercise can conjure up a plethora of unpleasant images from drill sergeant personal trainers to dreaded gym class in school. Not all physical activity has to be a painful endeavor that is endured only for the sake of health. While the long-term benefits of exercise are indisputable, many struggle to make it a part of their daily life. The key to sticking to an exercise routine is to find an activity that you like and you can grow in. If you find spin class boring or yoga too easy then simply don’t force yourself to do it. There are hundreds of different exercise classes and methodologies that can engage you and inspire you to improve.
Hygiene is defined as any action taken to maintain health and prevent disease. This can pertain to the daily practices of showering, washing hands, brushing teeth and flossing. Personal hygiene won’t just keep you healthy but it can even boost your mood which can be especially helpful for those living with a mental health disorder like depression.
Hygiene also includes seeking out preventative medical care such as getting physical exams, going to the dentist and seeing an eye doctor if you have vision issues. Most people are able to brush their teeth and shower regularly but many put off making medical appointments out of inconvenience. Preventing disease or intervening with early treatment is much more convenient in the long run than ignoring your health concerns altogether.
Relaxation is commonly thought of as only a mental exercise with only mental benefits. That is simply not true. Tension can build up in muscles causing headaches or back pain and stress hormones can cause a variety of nasty symptoms including adrenal fatigue. In modern times, everyone packs their schedules full of events and puts pressure on themselves to get ahead. While ambition is admirable, scheduling time to simply relax and enjoy yourself is important to your overall health. Whether it is getting a massage, staying home with a good book or playing your favorite sport, some “me time” does everyone good.
What are the benefits of physical activity?
- At the very basic level, physical activity is known to improve mood, boost confidence, and improve self esteem
- Regular physical activity has numerous positive benefits in terms of physical and mental health as well as on chronic illnesses, and can lead to higher quality of life
- At a higher level, regular physical activity prevents heart disease/stroke and lower blood pressure and cholesterol
How much physical activity should you get in a day?
- 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise
- 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise
- Or a combination of both!
- An easy goal to remember: 30 minutes a day, five times a week!
- These activities are particularly effective if get plenty of sleep (adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night)!
Ways to do physical activity from home
- Check out these “Sweat off Stress” workouts from UC Davis
- Try a yoga routine on youtube like “Yoga with Adriene” (try the Power Yoga video for a great workout!)
- PopSugar has a ton of fun workouts organized into categories such as beginner, 15 minute, and 30 minute workouts! (try 10-minute barre abs for a killer ab workout)
- Check out Calm for free online resources for meditation