Many people think of health and wellness as the same thing. However, they are very different from each other. Health is a state of being. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Wellness, on the other hand, is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes. Wellness refers to an overall balance of physical, social, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, environmental, financial and occupational well-being. Wellness directly influences health.
What is health and wellness about? Well, it is about balance. Balancing those aspects of wellness to achieve optimal health. A big factor in a person’s overall health is exercise. Exercising conditions your health and it factors into your overall wellness. It helps in providing the balance necessary to achieve optimal health. Including an exercise routine into your daily life, as a habit, contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise positively affects health and wellness. Nutrition also contributes to health and wellness.
How Much Do I Need to Exercise?
How much you need to exercise depends on a few factors. Are you new to the exercise thing? Do you have any experience with exercising regularly? What have you been doing for the past couple of years? How active have you been? What kind of results are you looking for? Do you have a significant amount of weight to lose? Or, are you at a healthy weight, but you have no energy? Regardless, if you are just starting out or if you have not exercised regularly in over 6 months, you should start easy. 15 minutes of exercise 3-4 times a week will increase your energy levels and help you shed some of the extra weight, over time. It is better to start slow and easy than to push yourself and increase your risk of injury.
It is worth noting here, that if you are able to exercise for 15 minutes without breaking a sweat or breathing a little heavy, then you need to either increase the intensity or time (or both). When we exercise we take our bodies out of their comfort zone. We do this a little at a time.
When to Increase the Time or Intensity of Excerise
I am at the point where I am barely breaking a sweat and I am not losing any more weight. I am maintaining. So, it is time for me to change my routine. I can increase the intensity level or the amount of time I am working out. Don’t get me wrong, if I were happy with my weight and overall fitness, I would just continue my present work out routine.
Remember, if nothing changes, then nothing changes. But, I believe I still need to lose a few pounds and I could handle having more energy throughout my days. So, I will change things up by adding some strength training exercises to my routine. Right now, I do dance fitness 5-6 times a week for fifty (50) minutes. So, I will start with the strength training exercises on the days that I do not do the dance fitness.
Instead of changing up my work outs, I could cut out the cookies I eat every day. Yes, I eat cookies. I eat about 4 cookies every day. No. That is not true. LOL. It is more like 5-6 cookies a day. I really like eating my cookies so I will opt to do the strength training 3 times weekly. Summer is coming and I want to feel comfortable in clothes that don’t cover as much as winter clothes do.
This all contributes to my health and overall wellness. There are things that make you happy that you should not have to change. Only you know what makes you happy. Balance is key. I don’t eat a whole pack of Oreos before I go to bed at night. That would cause an imbalance of my health and wellness.
Exercise for Health and Wellness
It is a fact that exercise plays a big part in maintaining optimal health and wellness. A sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to health and wellness. I focus on creating and maintaining good habits. Habits are those repetitive actions that we take.
Good habits are positive and beneficial behaviors that we continually practice. Good habits include things like brushing our teeth, washing our hands after we use the bathroom, eating a well-balanced diet, meditating, drinking plenty of water, saying please and thank you, being grateful, etc…
When regular exercise becomes one of our habits, we don’t have to force ourselves to do it. Let’s face it… going from not exercising to exercising regularly is hard for most people.
When I first started back exercising, I had to force myself to do something that I did not want to do. Fortunately, I know from experience that it would get easier and easier for me to want to exercise as time went by.
It is said, that it takes twenty-eight (28) days to make anything a habit. I am not sure how I would calculate exercising 3 times a week into that equation. Since we are not doing it every day, does it still become a habit? For me, yes. I went from exercising 3 times a week (for 2 months), to exercising 5-6 times a week (for 4 months thus far). Once I started seeing and feeling the positive health and wellness benefits that exercise had, it became ‘second nature’ for me to exercise.
Most people develop a heightened level of self-confidence, once they’ve been exercising regularly, for a few weeks. I know that that’s true for me, too. I feel stronger mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and especially physically now that I have been exercising regularly for 6 months. I began feeling these changes happen after only a few weeks. And, it gains strength as I continue the habit of exercising.
Exercise has numerous health and wellness benefits. Some of the benefits are:
- It reduces the risk of heart attack
- helps to manage weight
- lowers blood cholesterol level
- lowers risk of diabetes
- reduces the risk of some cancers
- helps lower blood pressure
- strengthens the bones, muscles and joints
- lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis
- increases energy levels
- boosts self-confidence
- “de-fogs” the brain
- increases physical strength
- improves a person’s mood
- promotes better sleep
- and more
So, you can see how exercise significantly affects a person’s health and wellness. If you have any health issues you should consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Good Nutrition Contributes to Health and Wellness
Factoring in your nutritional choices is important for overall health and wellness. Minimally processed foods are the best. 57.9% of Americans eat processed foods. Processed foods are high in sugars, salts and preservatives. Stay away from food that comes in boxes or bags. Choosing foods that will support your energy needs while still helping you lose weight, can be a bit of a challenge.
It will make things easier if you plan your nutritional intake. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are the main nutrients in our food. Eating lean protein, complex carbs, and fiber is important when you want good health and nutrition. They will also help you if you are trying to lose weight.
To build muscle and to stay full choose foods like turkey, non-fat greek yogurt, fish and eggs. Get your energy from complex carbs such as green leafy vegetables, peas, beans, whole grains, and other vegetables. High fiber/low fat foods include fruits, vegetables, fish, skinless chicken, fat free or low fat yogurt, olive oil, etc… Fiber aids in digestion and can help with weight loss.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services bring to you: Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The DGA says that today:
- 60% of adults have one or more diet-related chronic diseases.
- About 74% of adults are overweight or obese.
- About 40% of children are overweight or obese.
The DGA also says to follow these three key principles when deciding what to drink or eat:
- Meet nutritional needs primarily from nutrient-dense foods and beverages.
- Choose a variety of options from each food group: vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein foods.
- Pay attention to portion size.
You can create a personalized food plan at MyPlate, that is based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. MyPlate helps you figure out how many calories you need each day and shows you food group targets- what and how much to eat within your calorie allowance. At MyPlate, you’ll use the Nutrition Facts Label and MyPlate to make healthier choices. It is free.
Health and wellness is about balancing your social, emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, and environmental aspects that lead to optimal health. Exercise affects all of those aspects of wellness in one way or another. It promotes an overall level of well-being that fits into all areas of your life. Your nutritional intake plays a big role in your health and wellness. I gave you a couple of resources to help you make better nutritional choices and to help you plan your dietary intake so you can achieve and maintain great health and wellness.
If you have any questions or you want me to talk about something on this website, please let me know in the comments section. Thank you