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"Exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind." ~ Nelson Mandela

What is Physical Wellness?

According to SAMHSA, physical wellness is recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition.

Why is Physical Wellness Important?

Our physical wellness is essential because it has the potential to affect every other aspect of our lives. Taking care of our bodies promotes optimal health to experience the highest quality of life, one that is thriving. Our physical wellness encourages a balance between physical activity, proper nutrition, and appropriate rest to support a healthy body and mind. Physical wellness encourages sound fundamentals that will affect behaviors and lead to a healthy lifestyle.

6 Key Aspects of Physical Wellness

  • Sleep

Zzzzzzz… Sleep plays a vital role in healthy brain function, emotional wellness, and physical health. Sleep deficiency may cause us to "have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change." ( Most adults need 7-9 hours every night to wake up refreshed and alert.

  • Proper Nutrition

A healthy diet can help strengthen our immune system and protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. But did you know that it can also support improved brain health (cognitive performance through increased blood flow) as we age? It's also essential to monitor our blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol to ensure they remain within safe limits. 

Drinking enough water is also critical to our mind and body.  Water helps lubricate joints, deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, and regulate body temperature.  Dehydration can trigger decreased energy levels, changes in mood, and brain fog (diminished mental capacity).

  • Physical activity

Physical activity affects more than the number on the scale. Physical activity can improve muscle strength and energy levels by delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.  It helps reduce the risk of major health conditions like cardiovascular disease and cancer by increasing blood flow. And it can improve our mental state by decreasing cortisol levels (stress hormone) to help diminish depression and anxiety. 

  • Relaxation

Relaxation can help us reduce stress and anxiety by promoting increased blood flow and lowering our blood pressure and heart rate.  Natural relaxation techniques have been shown to help clear our minds, leading to improved concentration, memory, and decision-making. Some common relaxation techniques may include mindful meditation, breathwork, or taking a walk outside. Take a moment to find your creative release, something that calms your mind.

  • Illness prevention

Illness prevention includes making healthy lifestyle changes. This includes scheduling regular medical checkups (including standard health screenings), getting routine immunizations, and practicing good hygiene. Taking a proactive approach and responsibility for our health instead of a reactive approach may allow us to avert illness and potentially extend the quality and longevity of our life.

  • Abstaining from harmful habits (drug/alcohol abuse)

Abstaining from harmful habits may not always be easy. Destructive habits could be anything from binging T.V., food, or alcohol; to not getting enough sleep each night. These habits become almost second nature; natural responses/actions learned from repeated behaviors. Sometimes, we need to recognize bad habits and make the changes necessary to correct them.  Embracing a sense of self-worth can help us identify and make the changes required to engage in healthy habits. 

How to Form a Good Habit

I am a fan of James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. He lays out a process to form new habits that's as simple as 1...2...3.

  1. Start with a habit that is so easy you can't say no. Starting easy builds consistency and self-confidence to continue the practice. Once you have consistency, you can increase the difficulty or repetitions.

  2. Develop a plan for when you fail. No matter how hard we try, we all fail from time to time. But we must get back on track quickly. This is easier if we have a plan in place before we fail. Release the judgment and guilt of failing and "never miss twice." Otherwise, our failure becomes our new habit.

  3. Be patient with yourself. Focus on things/activities that can be sustained. Then build from there. One good habit leads to two, which leads to three, and so on and so on. 

Physical Wellness and Our Mood

Physical activity promotes strong muscles, joints, and bones.  It improves cognitive function, respiratory, cardiovascular, and overall health. It can reduce blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and the risk of type 2 Diabetes. But did you know that it can improve our mood? Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can release endorphins that may help mild to moderate levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Physical wellness is improved by making choices and forming habits that encourage a thriving lifestyle. This includes adopting healthy habits such as scheduling routine medical exams, getting sufficient sleep, eating a nutritious diet (with plenty of water), regular physical activity, and more.  Remember to be patient with yourself as you make changes to improve your physical wellness. Improvement is not attained by one action alone. It's a process that takes time and determination.

Questions to Guide Your Physical Wellness:

  1. Do you have access to and eat a balanced nutritional diet?

  2. Do you exercise, for 30 minutes, at least three times a week?

  3. Do you manage your weight in healthy ways?

  4. Are you staying hydrated by drinking water throughout the day?

  5. Are you mindful of triggers that make you use alcohol or other substances?

  6. Do you get 7-8 hours of sleep each night and feel rested in the morning?

  7. Are you generally free from illness?

  8. Do you seek advice from healthcare professionals if you have a health concern you cannot solve on your own?

If you start exploring physical wellness and find yourself struggling with a negative self-image, or need help getting into a routine please follow the link to talk more about how I can support you on this journey. WovenGrace Wellness.

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