The journey to attain ultimate health and wellness begins with building a lifestyle that supports both.
A health and wellness oriented lifestyle is nourishment for the body, mind and soul that is incorporated into healthy habits and choices part of your daily routines. You do not need to completely overhaul your entire life all at once. These changes can be made gradually.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services published the first Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008. It recommends 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity daily or a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes per week for adults ages 18 to 64 years. Strength training for all of the major body parts,legs, hips, arms, shoulders, abdomen, back and chest is recommended at least twice a week.
As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Want to aim even higher? You can achieve more health benefits, including increased weight loss, if you ramp up your exercise to 300 minutes a week.
If you are not already physically active, incorporating fitness activities into your life does not need to pose a major challenge. A wide range of physical activities meet the guidelines. Examples of moderate physical activity include dancing, brisk walking, bicycle riding and more.
Keep in mind, 30 minutes of moderate activity provides the minimum required to gain health benefits. More vigorous activities, jumping rope, rock climbing and swimming provide even greater health benefits. Extending the amount of time spent doing any physical activity also increases health benefits.
To successfully integrate physical fitness activities into your life and reap the benefits, make them part of your daily schedule. Set aside time in your daily planner and add a reminder to the event on your phone or watch. The most important things you can do are show up for the activity and perform some level of physical activity. Even if it does not equal the full 30 minutes, you’re still building the habit of physical activity.
Keys to Success:
- Start with an activity you will enjoy.
- If you are a social person, join an exercise group or workout with friends.
- Remember every little bit counts. If you exercise for 20 minutes twice a day or in 10 minute increments throughout the day, you can meet the requirement of 2 hours and 30 minutes per week around your schedule.
- Block out your exercise time on your calendar.
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Along with physical fitness, ultimate health and wellness hinges on a healthy and balanced diet. People who eat well experience a variety of health benefits, better weight maintenance, lower chances of developing diabetes or heart disease and lower instances of illness. Everyone needs a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, plus enough vitamins and minerals with an emphasis on whole foods for optimal health.
Developing healthy eating habits isn’t as confusing or as restrictive as many people imagine.
Take a proactive positive approach as you make changes to what you eat. Drink a non-carbonated beverage instead of a pop or soda; you can choose unsweetened herbal tea which still provides flavor, lemon water or plain water. Select brown rice instead of white rice with your meals. Just as with exercise, small changes add up to a complete transition to a more healthful lifestyle.
Keys to Success:
- Choose one or two small changes to incorporate into your diet each month.
- Experiment. Eating healthy needs to be enjoyable for you to make it a part of your lifestyle. Try foods and a variety of ways to prepare them and enjoy the ones you like.
- Make sure to keep your daily menu varied so you don’t get bored with your food choices and go off track.
Our emotional state can affect our food choices, our level of physical activity and our ability to maintain positive social engagement. Foods high in sugar and unhealthy fat satisfies the pleasure and reward centers in our brains. If we are stressed or unhappy, many of us reach for rich foods to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes this is a conscious decision; many times it is not. Also, feeling angry, unhappy or depressed saps energy, making it more difficult to exercise or pursue some other physical activity; we just don’t feel like it.
There are many ways to combat this cycle. Physical activities like yoga, pilates, tai chi and many others expressly cultivate a healthy mind-body connection for practitioners. Each of these activities use movement tied to breath awareness to focus and calm the mind and the nervous system.
Yoga includes breathing exercises and meditation as well. These activities build fitness and relieve stress. Some mind-body activities, breathing exercises, visualization and meditation, do not involve whole body movement; they focus on channeling mental activity and relieving stress.
It is important to keep the body healthy and the mind in a state of equilibrium to experience a sense of well-being. Harnessing the natural energy of the body-mind connection makes it easier to deal with stress, adapt to change and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
WHEN WE CREATE BALANCE WE HAVE ROOM FOR PERSONAL GROWTH, POSITIVE ENERGY, AND RELATIONSHIPS.
When your mind, body and spirit are in balance, the result is a sense of self knowing and empowerment which feels good and is good for you.
Keys to Success:
- Choose a mind-body activity to include in your schedule which suits your lifestyle and temperament.
- Practice it consistently for the best results.
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Make Health and Wellness A Habit
Unlike the commonly referred to 21 days to create a habit, researchers from University College London examined the new habits of 96 people over the space of 12 weeks, and found that the average time it takes for a new habit to stick is actually 66 days. It should be noted that individual times varied from 18 to a whopping 254 days. More complex accomplishments like establishing an exercise routine, daily meditation and dietary changes can take significantly longer.
Make a commitment to health and wellness with a commitment to change, not a quick fix or fad.
The rate of accomplishment for more complex changes can be highly variable; do not end your quest for ultimate health and wellness if you are not seeing results in three weeks- for most people that’s simply not enough. The key to changing established habits and acquiring new ones is consistency and persistence. You can reach your goal!
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be the best version of YOU,