What is it?
This dimension of wellness is relatively obvious in terms of what it encompasses, as it has the benefit of being the most widely recognized and acknowledged facet of wellness and what most people immediately think of when they think of personal health. However, it still happens to be one of the facets of wellness we struggle with the most. Due to today’s sedentary lifestyle, abundance of processed and calorie dense/nutrient sparse food, and work-focused culture, our physical health (that is – the health of our physical bodies) often suffers unless we make a specific effort to address it.
Physical Wellness Inventory
When talking about the many dimensions of wellness I find the definition to be a lot less useful than an inventory. What exactly does it take to achieve the definition of that dimension of wellness? What can you do better in this area of your wellness? What objectives should you shoot for? These are the questions you should be asking in order to take a thorough inventory of all aspects of your wellness – physical health being no exception. Of course, our bodies are incredibly complex and require many many things to be in tip top shape and run smoothly. However, I find that focusing on four key tenants will set you up to be as healthy as you can be without getting into the nitty gritty of illnesses, genetics, medications, etc. Essentially, these four tenants are the best place to start, and the easiest to control.
- Sleep – I’m sorry, but it’s true. Please do yourself a favor and stop spitefully staying up because you don’t have enough me-time during the day. I promise that getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night is more important than catching that last episode of the real housewives. Sleep pretty much impacts everything; mood, critical thinking, memory, energy (duh), even appetite and food choices! Long story short; go to sleep, girlfriend. Ask yourself if you’re getting the appropriate quantity and quality of sleep. If not, address your bedtime, waketime, night routine, nutrition (this affects sleep), etc.
- Nutrition – You don’t have to be a nutritionist to audit your nutrition. Some basic principles to follow are; nutrient dense foods (think whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, nuts and legumes, and less processed carbs such as rice and potatoes), variety (especially in terms of fruits and veggies – the age old saying is true; eat the rainbow) in order to maximize the amount of vitamins and minerals you’re intaking, appropriate portion sizes, and meals made up of mostly produce, a decent serving of protein, and some healthy fats. Ask yourself; are you getting most of your calories from whole food sources? Do you have fruits and vegetables every day? Does the food you eat make you feel good?
- Movement – You don’t need to be an athlete, but you do need to move more often than not. We spend most of our days sitting. Think about how many steps you’re getting per day, a reasonable amount should be at least 5k, but ideally 7k and upwards. Additionally, take a look at your exercise routine. Are you getting a mix of aerobic/cardio exercise and strength training (think weight lifting and other forms of resistance training that overloads your muscles and increases strength)? Are you stretching? Have you visited your chiropractor to address any imbalances and adjustments that may be needed? These are all important components of a solid movement routine!
- Hydration – This one is easy. Half your body weight in ounces daily!
Our Number One Tip
I’ll leave you with this; while physical health has many facets and can be overwhelming at times and not come as naturally as we’d like, there’s one thing you should remember above all others that will make things come a little easier. It’s our favorite wellness tip to give, actually; when it comes to wellness, take a preventative not a reactive approach. Don’t wait until something is wrong. Don’t wait until you can’t stop yawning to audit your sleep, don’t wait until you’ve gained 20 pounds to think about your nutrition, and don’t wait until you’re in pain to see the chiropractor.
What I love about chiropractic care is that we fit into wellness on both ends of the spectrum. We can aid in your preventative approach by making sure your body is able to move and feel it’s best and maintain this, but we can also treat existing problems like chronic pain and injuries. So please don’t hesitate to make us a part of your physical wellness routine. In fact, we can even go through your inventory together!
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