Physical Wellness: How Healthy Are We Really?
We often confuse physical wellness with physical fitness, but they mean different things. Physical wellness encompasses several things like, personal health, emotional wellness and an overall balance. Physical fitness is the ability of your body to work effectivelyto perform daily activities. Like not getting winded walking up the stairs or picking up a bag of mulch or your child without hurting your back. As a NASM certified personal trainer, and ACE certified health coach it is my calling to enlighten you on both aspects and how they intermingle.
Last week we talked about all EIGHT dimensions of wellness, and thlet’s start with physical wellness.
This week we're talking physical wellness. To put it simply, physical wellness is a state of good health. It means that your body is able to maintain itself and it can respond effectively to challenges placed on it.
Finding physical wellness can look like:
Dialing in your diet and nutrition. Incorporating MORE fruits and vegetables, MORE water.
Increasing physical activity. I'm just talking movement here, like daily walks, gardening, playing with kids outside and even cleaning!
Starting a structured exercise program with a professional. I know searching Pinterest for workouts sounds like a good idea (and sometimes it may be ok), but I strongly recommend you invest in your future, as a personal trainer can teach you the correct movements and exercise selection.
Most of us start with changing our physical wellness, as it seems the easiest one to change and most talked about in our society. We often are bombarded with different information from not so reputable sources that promise quick solutions for behaviors that have been developed throughout a lifetime. My recommendation to you, as your favorite online personal trainer and coach, start small. Walk 30 minutes daily. As you get more comfortable increase to 60 minutes. Remember, as I've said in my prior Blog posts on physical activity, you can start with small "walking" snacks.
Why is social wellness important? Being Part of the Collective.
As someone who was bullied in 3rd grade, and felt mostly ostracized for the rest of elementary school, middle school was surprisingly fun. I was blessed that I found friends that had the same family values, kind personalities and accepted a weirdo like me. Good relationships can provide support, guidance, love, and teach us how to cope with life. Bad relationships, like a toxic friend, or unfortunately an abusive partner can damage and traumatize our emotional wellness.
Social wellness is participating in activities with people you work with, hang out with and developing and nurturing meaningful relationships, both romantic and platonic. Professional ones are important here too. As described by the National Cancer Institutes’s Dictionary of terms social support is defined as "network of family, friends, neighbors, and community members that is available in times of need to give psychological, physical, and financial help” (www.cancer.gov). Studies show that people who have a social group that supports them, tend to be less stressed and live longer.
Our social environment influences our daily behaviors and how we feel about ourselves. Surrounding ourselves with negative people can sour our outlook on life and block our possibilities for change.
Throughout my years in the corporate world I learned that not everyone could be in my circle of trust, and although I have always been a pretty open book, there were boundaries that were set with certain colleagues. Many people didn't really get to know the real me until years into the working in the company. I was able to establish firm boundaries and create true friendships. I am still friends, with several of my past colleagues, and make a point to connect with them monthly. Just like physical activity and exercise, maintaining friendships is hard work. Sometimes analyzing our current relationships is a way to ensure that your social health is supported.
Do you support your current friends with their life?
Do you feel cared for in your circle of friends?
Can you identify unhealthy relationships in your life now?
Do you have trouble identifying trustworthy people?
Do you disconnect from technology to connect with people face to face?
Do you step out of your comfort zone to make connections?
When is the last time you joined a local group for a fun activity?
Emotional Intelligence is important for your social wellness.
Emotional Intelligence: Being able to interpret social cues, being socially aware, understanding emotions, being able to interpret emotional language and all those little signals conveyed by emotion are important skillsets to have so you may nurture your relationships and grow as a social being.
Emotional wellness is developed throughout your life, and we can work on developing it with small actions daily. It starts with inner reflection. I know, it seems rough and will take many of us out of our comfort zones. Paying attention to how we feel internally can help us with the next step to establishing this important skill set. Us health coaches recommend you analyze how you react to others' actions. Simple reflections on how you behave when someone is stressed or upset can help highlight how you internalize other's feelings.
How do we project these feelings? Are we quick to anger when stressed? Start paying attention to your behavior, see what develops when you reflect on this. Simply looking internally helps us realize that we often have the skills we need to develop and grow our own happiness. There are so many books you can purchase or even borrow from your public library. Check out my recommendations on Amazon. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a tiny percentage of anything you purchase via the links below.
As I mentioned before many of these dimensions of wellness overlap each other. You can blend in other aspects of wellness with taking group fitness classes, (if you're local, check out Iron Fist Gym's schedule here), participating in group walks, group coaching sessions and even just actually interacting in all those group chays you have. This will connect you with other HUMANS.
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Bansal S, Connolly M, Harder T. Impact of a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Nutrition Intervention on Patients Living with Chronic Disease in an Underserved Community. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2021 Jun 6;16(3):382-389. doi: 10.1177/15598276211018159. PMID: 35706591; PMCID: PMC9189580.
NCI Dictionary of Cancer terms. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/social-support