Wellness and Fitness

Fitness includes both the physical and mental aspects of life needed to achieve overall well-being and quality of life. Developing a fitness program should incorporate physical activity as well as relaxation and stress management. Implementing such a program into a daily routine can improve energy level, mood, sleep, physical condition, health, and can also reduce the risk of disease.

When starting a fitness program, it is important to seek advice from a knowledgeable healthcare professional, who can help develop a workable program tailored to a person’s health, ability, schedule, and goals. The American Heart Association recommends “at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week,” (i.e. brisk walking, riding a bike on level ground, cutting the grass) or “at least 25 minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week,” (i.e. running, swimming, playing a competitive sport, and fast cycling); and “moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening at least 2 days per week.”

A program should be adapted to a person’s schedule, ability, and fitness level. For example, individuals with certain medical conditions like arthritis, joint, or back conditions should consider low impact exercises including water aerobics, tai chi, yoga, and chair-based routines. These low impact programs produce less stress on the body while improving strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Identifying and beginning a fitness program starts with setting realistic and achievable goals. Additionally, routines should be varied, incorporating both cardio and strength components, as well as providing periods of relaxation, stretching, and cooling down. It is important to start slow and progress at a steady and gradual pace. A good starting point may be 10-20 minutes a day 3-4 times a week. As stamina and strength increase, progress the program to at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.

In addition to physical activity and exercise, it is important to manage stress levels. Stress management helps reduce the physical and mental strain on the body, including its negative impact on health, relationships, sleep, and quality of life. A healthcare professional can help one learn to recognize these stressors or triggers and develop strategies for dealing with them as they arise. These stressors often present as irritability, fatigue, forgetfulness, or a physical ailment. A stress management program should include physical activity, a good diet, and relaxation.

Relaxation techniques should involve something a person enjoys that promotes a sense of well-being and positive attitude. These techniques include meditation, listening to music, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, being outdoors, or any enjoyable hobby. It is important to incorporate these into a daily routine. Other healthy habits that aid in stress reduction include developing a support system of family and friends, giving up bad habits such as smoking and alcohol, and allowing room for error.

Becoming physically fit and managing your stress will not occur over night, but starting a program that is enjoyable and workable will get you on your way to an improved sense of well-being and quality of life. Remember, start slow and progress gradually, make it part of a daily routine and incorporate time for relaxation… your body, mind, family and friends will thank you.

Fitness includes both the physical and mental aspects of life needed to achieve overall well-being and quality of life. Developing a fitness program should incorporate physical activity as well as relaxation and stress management. Implementing such a program into a daily routine can improve energy level, mood, sleep, physical condition, health, and can also reduce the risk of disease.

 

2018-02-21T14:32:41+00:00 February 21st, 2018|Wellness|