As you saw in the prior article “Physical Wellness – Its More than Just Being Healthy and Fit,” I defined Physical Wellness as the understanding of the things that affect our physical body’s ability to live healthily, and knowing how to influence and control those things throughout all stages of life.
Here I will break down the top 5 of those things:
I. Consistent Exercise
Everyone knows that exercise is a key component to being physically healthy. However, often times people get too bogged down with the wrong details and thus never actually get into an exercise rhythm.
Do any of these situations ring a bell?
…I need to exercise to lose weight. I hear that if I want to lose weight, I must run because if I run I will burn calories and that results in weight loss. But I HATE running, it makes my knees hurt, I get board, and I am no good at it. But if I want to lose weight, I guess I gotta make my self do it…. 3 to 5 times per week….for the rest of my life….ugh….
…I hate to exercise, but this article I just read says I can get a six pack by just doing one exercise 7 min each day, and I get to eat what I want. Sounds too good to be true! ~ 7 days later ~ it is too good to be true… well I guess I’ll never get in-shape…ugh….
…OK, I’m ready to start an exercise plan. But which one? Should I run, bike, CrossFit, Orange Theory, Barre, Yoga, or do that dumbbell workout I saw in Mens Health? There is so much to choose from, which one will work? …ugh….
Part of Physical Wellness simply means that you move well and you move often. Lets attack these backwards. Moving often…
Moving often simply means that you need to find an activity or number of activities that you enjoy doing and can do at least 3 times per week. If that is going on hikes or long walks, playing soccer with your friends, bro’ing out at your CrossFit box, or something else, it doesn’t matter. I just needs to be something that elevates your heart rate and that you can and want to do consistently. Because remember, you need to move and exercise for the rest of your life. So if you don’t like what you are doing, I can guarantee, you will eventually stop doing it.
To move well means you have muscle strength, flexibility, and control to respond to any general physical demands you may have. Being able to touch your toes means you have flexible hamstrings and thus less/no back pain. Knowing how to properly hinge at the hips when sitting down or standing up will save you knee pain when your older. Having enough shoulder and upper back strength will help you to carry groceries or your kids/grandkids injury free.
Physical Wellness is moving often by finding an exercise routine that you enjoy. And it is moving well by supplementmenting your routine periodically (1x/week or so) with something that will improve your quality of movement.
II. Healthy Eating
Healthy eating is crucial to maintaining Physical Wellness. However, healthy eating does not mean starving yourself, doing a 7-day juice cleanse, or renouncing every tasty item you use to love. It means consistently eating a well balanced diet of clean, whole, non-processed vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins (animal or non-animal based), and smart carbs.
Healthy eating also means consistent timing and volume. Eat at approximately the same time every day, stop eating before you are overly full, and don’t eat when you are not hungry.
Also, your diet does not have to be perfect. You merely need to follow the above parameters 80% of the time to maintain Physical Wellness.
There is actually a lot a room in the above parameters to customize to fit your life, preferences, and needs. Learning how to apply “you” to the above parameters is the healthy eating side of Physical Wellness.
III. Quality Sleep
Quality sleep in both length and routine. It is common knowledge that everyone needs between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night (most individuals need closer to 8 than 6). However, maintaining a regular sleep routine is just as important as getting enough hours in.
…Have you ever gone to bed one night at 2AM, gotten up 8 hours later at 10AM, and then tried to go to bed early (10PM) that next night because of a 6AM work wake up call? It is miserable. You got the same number of hours, but your routine was off and therefore you body’s sleep cycle was disrupted.
…Do you read or watch TV in bed and then struggle to fall asleep at night? You body and mind are no longer associating your bed with sleep, but instead associate it with a stimulus, thus throwing off your sleep cycle.
Quality sleep means you are going to bed each night at approximately the same time and performing the same routine prior to going to bed, you are able to fall asleep quickly, you sleep through the night with minimal waking up, and you waking up at the same time each morning.
Physical Wellness is the creating and/or awareness of your routine, prioritizing it, and adjusting it as necessary throughout your life
IV. Staying Hydrated
We are made up of nearly 70% water. Every part of our body needs water to survive and function. Water lubricates our joints, it protects our spinal cord, and regulates body temperature. We are even more vulnerable to skin disorders if we are frequently dehydrated.
Moreover, our body constantly loses water through urination, sweating, and even breathing.
Therefore, to maintain our body’s water requirements while accounting for the daily water loss, the average person needs approximately 3L of water per day.
Fortunately, everything has water in it. Our skin can absorb it from the air around us and it is in all the food we eat. It can be approximated that we obtain 1L of our 3L requirement from those sources along. Therefore, the average person needs only to make up the difference by drinking 2L of water per day.
Also as an added benefit, if you get your 2L of water from clean water sources or unsweetened loose leaf tea, and not from juice, soda, or alcohol, you will reduce your daily caloric intake and suppress your appetite in general, which will help you lose weight. You will also reduce allergy severity, decrease heartburn problems, improve skin health, lower headache frequency, and fight fatigue.
…yes you may have to go to the bathroom a bit more often, but it is a small price to pay.
Physical Wellness is prioritizing clean water over other liquids, staying aware of your daily intake, and creating methods to ensure you are getting your daily intake.
V. Stress Reduction
Severe or consistent stress causes a number of physical ailments including poor sleep, headaches, neck and back pain, mood swings, fatigue, and loads more. Ambition, technology, and societal expectations has caused many of us to pack our schedules to the brim and become constant multi-taskers. It is a runaway train on a path towards a nervous breakdown or chronic health problems.
To maintain physical wellness, you not only need to reduce the stressors in your life, you need to learn how to properly relax and lower the affect of the stressors that will inevitably occur.
To reduce stress, you should learn mindfulness techniques to help relax, practice mobility exercises to reduce muscle tension, improve sleep quality aid in recovery, and more.
However, there is no magic bullet because every person’s life is different. Their individual stressors are different. The reaction to those stressors are different. Therefore, Physical Wellness is learning how to identify and overcome the stressors in their lives.
Flex Fitness OT’s Nomadic Physical Wellness System accounts for all of the above things in a structured, educational, and fun way.
LINK – Learn More about the Nomadic Physical Wellness System
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