Stay Well Newsletter – Health Zone
“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”
~Sir Winston Churchill
To Be Well…or Not to Be Well?
It may seem a redundant question to ask someone, “Don’t you want to be well?” But in fact, anyone who has worked in the health or wellness industry will attest, not everyone desires to live a life of health and well-being. But for those who do…those who have decided that this is something they truly desire to pursue; the question often arises…How then do I do it? How do I live my life in such a way that my well-being will be improved?
The beauty of the answer to this age-old question, is that there is no one way to live a life of optimal well-being, but there are in fact proven strategies that when lived, will help! These are just several examples of important fundamentals to consider when establishing a life of optimal well-being:
- Sleep – The appropriate amount of quality sleep is cornerstone to a life of well-being. According to various studies, adequate sleep can enhance immune function, improve our ability to concentrate, assist with athletic performance, positively impact mood states, help maintain healthy weight and help reduce inflammation. Most research suggests 7-8 hours of sleep per night as ideal for the majority of adults.
- Movement – The importance of regular physical activity cannot be over-stated. The appropriate amount of regular physical activity, reduces the risk of many life-threatening diseases, helps boost our immune function, helps with positive mental outlook and helps with cognitive function just to list a few! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week or 75 minutes of high intensity activity. In addition, Strength training two times per week using all the major muscle groups on non-consecutive days is also recommended.
- Fuel – The nutrients and type of energy that we use to fuel our body and our mind, like sleep and exercise can have a profound influence on our overall well-being. Eating a variety of whole foods, with minimal processing and in the amount that meets our needs (not necessarily our wants) can also be medicinal not only to prevent many diseases, but may in fact help reverse some adult onset diseases as well. (choosemyplate.gov)
- Rest – Rest is more than sleep, it is learning to balance out our work life (volunteer or otherwise) with rest, time in quietude or in quality socialization with those we care about.
- Purpose – One of the descriptions Halbert Dunn (often referred to as the father of the modern-day wellness movement) used to describe wellness was “A zest in your step.” When we live a life of purpose, whether it be from our profession or from something outside our profession, it will drive us to do more and pursue more than we would without it. Purpose gives added meaning to life and will often cause us to have as Dunn described a “zest in our step.”
- Socialization – Humans by nature, are social beings, and although the doses or amounts of socialization needed may vary from person to person, we cannot escape this element of who we are. Listen to this week’s podcast for more on this.
- Laughter – Never forget the value of laughter for health and well-being. Click on the following link for more information on the positive effects of laughter. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2762283/
Although this list far from covers all of the elements involved in living a life of optimal well-being, incorporating even a few into our days will certainly take us that much closer!
Greg McCann is a Health Zone staff member with certifications in Wellness Coaching, Personal Training and Yoga Instruction.