“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth…” (3 Jn. 2).
Two weeks ago, we began an introductory discussion about intellectual wellness. This week, we will be taking the discussion a little further by beginning to focus on the sixth dimension of wellness: physical wellness.
What is physical illness? Physical wellness is “one’s ability to begin and maintain a healthy quality of physical life that prevents stressors that can affect each person on differing levels.” Achieving physical wellness begins with the adoption of healthy daily habits to include things such as exercise, routine medical check-ups and a balanced diet. As we begin to engage in preventive maintenance for our bodies in a manner similar to how we maintain our automobiles, we understand the importance of the relationship between our daily practices and the results that stems from those habits.
“Developing physical wellness empowers you to be able to monitor your own vital signs and understand your body’s warning signs.”
If we paid closer attention to the things that threaten our physical wellness, we would be surprised at the simple steps we could take to prevent many of the areas of concern we face. Some of the areas to focus upon to ensure optimal physical wellness are: 1) illness prevention, 2) nutrition, 3) physical activity and body movement, 4) sexual health, 5) sleep, and 6) stress management. Things such as avoiding contact with people who are ill as much as possible, routinely washing our hands, eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep contribute to the prevention of contracting illnesses.
A major area of concern is not engaging in dialogue with our primary care providers and asking questions when we begin to notice symptoms. Our bodies are wired to provide us with warning signs that alert us when abnormal activities are occurring internally. If we ignore these warning signs, we risk an increase in exacerbating the condition and it could lead to additional medical problems. Once we have notified our medical providers, we can also engage in additional research to become better educated about how to address these concerns and how to best prevent recurrence in the future.
In addition to paying attention to our bodies, we can also focus on changing our daily eating habits. This is an area that many people either ignore or wait until it becomes mandatory as a result of incurring injury or an ongoing medical condition. There are six categories of nutrition that assists us to ensuring that we are receiving all that our bodies need to function properly. These categories include: 1) water, 2) carbohydrates, 3) protein, 4) fats (saturated or unsaturated), 5) vitamins, and 6) minerals. Each of our bodies are different and react differently to certain food items. It is imperative to determine which food items contain the essential elements of nutrition to obtain what is needed on a daily basis without causing harm by ingesting food items that may cause known or unknown allergic reactions.
According to the CDC, “Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases.” Oftentimes, when people think of physical activity, they picture someone in the gym on the weight bench lifting hundreds of pounds or someone on the treadmill moving at a pace that almost seems inhuman. The truth is that many fitness centers have staff members available to assist new members with a exercise plan that best suits their needs and abilities. Initially, no one is able to go into a hyper fitness routine without potentially causing some major or minor injury to themselves. This is counterproductive to physical wellness. Physical activity requires progressive sequences. In other words, it is more of a marathon rather than a sprint and we have to have a great understanding of our bodies and physical limits to prevent injury.
In the final analysis, physical wellness is an integral part of our overall wellness. What we do and how we treat our bodies determine how well we will be able to function daily. As stewards of these bodies, we have a responsibility to ensure that it is cared for properly. As in each area of health and wellness, educating ourselves about the different ways to enhance our overall ability to live our lives to the fullest is of paramount importance. This is inclusive of learning about preventative management of our physical being as well.
Ask yourself, “How is my physical wellness? Where do I find myself in relation to the above discussion?” Next week, we will begin a discussion of spiritual wellness. Next week’s discussion will be followed up with continued discussions on healthy lifestyle choices based on our understanding of each dimension of wellness. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone as this is a community effort to living our best life in honor of the One Who has given us this life to live. Love God…love others….love yourself!
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”