What is Wellness Part 2: “So…Where Do I Begin?”
Now that you know what wellness is, you may be wondering where to start. Well, since there are several different dimensions of wellness, there are several different angles you can take. However, starting at one dimension is not always as practical and/or efficient as the next. Considering the nature of the wellness components, it seems as though pursuing physical wellness first may be the most reasonable and influential approach.
So, what exactly is physical wellness and how do you pursue it? Simply put, physical wellness is the overall maintenance of physical health, which can be achieved by engaging in regular physical activity and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Now, does this mean you have to immediately start exercising for hours on end and never eat dessert? Not at all. Finding a balance and taking small, progressive steps toward improvement are the keys to bettering your physical wellness. And the best part is, no matter where you are in you journey, there is always room for growth.
You may now be asking, what is the baseline for physical wellness? In other words, what am I aiming for? From a nutritional perspective, the answer is pretty open-ended. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends two overarching goals:
- To maintain a caloric balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
- To consume nutrient dense food and avoid empty calories.
Physical activity wise, it’s a little more specific. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines, an individual is considered physically active if he/she:
- Engages in 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week (30 minutes 5 times per week, 50 minutes 3 times per week, etc.) OR
- Engages in 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week (25 minutes 3 times per week, etc.).
More than you thought? Don't worry; gradual increases in duration and intensity will allow you to meet this criteria. Less than you thought? Don’t worry, either! Exercise and its health benefits have a dose-response relationship, meaning that the more exercise you do (as long as you avoid overtraining), the more benefits you will receive. Speaking of, what are all the benefits of exercise? How about the benefits of eating a healthy, balanced diet? Read more next week to find out!
Stephanie Spoto, Personal Trainer