Healthy Body, A Key To Physical Wellness
Of the various dimensions of wellness, physical wellness is perhaps the most important. ‘Physical Wellness’, the phrase directs our thoughts towards a healthy body or good health and fitness of our physical self. Wellness is, more often than not, considered to be a synonym of good physical health. That, however, is a myopic view of wellness as I have explained in my blog ‘Demystifying Wellness – What does wellness cover?’. For the moment, though, let us focus on this dimension alone.
It will not be wrong to say that a healthy and fit body is the route to physical wellness. To lead a good and happy life, it is imperative to maintain our body in a fully functional state with all the organs efficiently performing the functions they are supposed to. It is a fact that as we age beyond the point of maximum growth, our body starts rolling downhill with organs slowing down or deteriorating by way of contracting illnesses which could be due to external factors like lifestyle habits, outbreak of epidemics or internal on account of organ failures due to age factor or any other abnormalities in the organs. It is this downhill movement that needs to be delayed/slowed down so that we can prolong the process of aging and live a longer life in good state of physical wellness.
Taking care of our body
As is said, ‘Take care of your body as it is the only place for you to live in’. Absolutely! A healthy body is the basis of our everyday well-being and is a must to have for a prolonged disease-free life. To achieve this, we need to build up a strong immune system so that any disease can be warded off. Keeping our vital organs like the Heart, Lungs, Kidney, Liver, etc. in good condition is absolutely essential. There are 5 aspects of healthy living which must be taken care of.
- Physical Activity
- Balanced Diet
This state of physical inactivity is that important part of our daily schedule which lot of us do not value much, often going to the extent of considering it a ‘waste of time’ in the present day when non-stop 24/7 is the nature of the world. Little do we realise that this period of temporary ‘down time’ is the duration when our body is internally very active and preparing us to take on the rigors and tedious activities of the forthcoming day by way of repairing damaged cells and tissues, boosting our immune system and resting & recharging our heart and cardiovascular system.
It is of utmost importance to give oneself enough duration of sleep, which varies as we age and also depends upon the level of activity that we undertake during our active period. Lack of adequate sleep or sleep deficiency can cause day to day problems like bad mood, daytime drowsiness, slow reflexes and brain functioning leading to lack of interest in daily activities, inability to comprehend situations and tasks, etc. to more serious diseases like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems in cases of prolonged sleep deficiency.
Our body works on the principles of machine and just like a machine gets rusted if it is not run for a long time and starts giving problems in smooth operations, our body, too, if not given to perform adequate physical activity on a regular basis, starts getting impacted with problems / diseases that slowly but surely make our organs dysfunctional and, if left unattended, may even lead to fatality.
Thus, it is critical for us to ensure that we undertake sufficient amount and required type of physical activity – any bodily movement that makes your muscles work and requires more energy than while the body is at rest – on a regular basis. Physical activity could be classified into 4 categories – Aerobic, Muscle-strengthening, Bone-strengthening and Stretching. The benefits of physical activity are manifold. Regular exercising keeps your heart and lungs in good shape. Exercising also keeps your weight in check and saves you from obesity, diabetes, blood pressure fluctuations and keep critical conditions like heart attack and strokes at bay.
Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of vigorous or 60 minutes of moderate activity like brisk walking, jogging, rope skipping every day must be undertaken by adults. Sports like Tennis, Squash, Basketball are good work outs for keeping our body active.
While physical activity is a must for maintaining a healthy body, we need to have a diet plan to back up that exercise regimen. It is the fuel for keeping our body functioning properly. Our body requires necessary nutrition for working efficiently and effectively. Without proper nutrition, our body becomes prone to disease, infections, fatigue and poor performance.
So what is a balanced diet? In a nutshell, a balanced diet consists of foods that are low in unnecessary fats and sugars and high on proteins, minerals and other nutrients. Also remember, there is no standard balanced diet for all to follow. A balanced diet for me may not be the same for you. This will differ from person to person as each one has a different requirement based on the state of physical being – fit or obese; lifestyle – active or sedentary; health – disease free or impacted by an ailment. Having said that, a balanced diet must contain foods from the following five groups:
- Vegetables & Legumes
- Grains & Cereals
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts
- Milk, Cheese, yogurt or alternatives
The amount of food from each of the above groups will differ on the basis of factors mentioned above.
As the universal adage goes – “Prevention is better than cure”. I completely agree and I am sure all of you agree with this, too. World Health Organisation (WHO) says “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” Many diseases that we humans get affected from are caused by germs that are a result of unclean and unhygienic conditions that develop around us on largely account of our own negligence and sometimes because of the unfortunate circumstances that we get stuck in. It is essential that we pay attention towards this very important aspect and take measures to keep ourselves and our environment clean.
Personal hygiene measures like washing hands, showering, brushing teeth, wearing clean clothes, taking preventive medical examination and environmental hygiene measures like proper disposal of garbage, keeping your lawn mowed to avoid overgrown grass/bushes, ensuring no stagnant water around, proper wastewater drainage, keeping food storage areas clean are a few that need to be taken on a regular basis. Unclean surfaces are very potent breeding grounds for germs, parasites which are main causes of communicable diseases which can, within no time, become epidemics affecting communities.
The world today id a non-stop 24/7 stage of activity. As technology advances have broken down borders between countries, access hurdles between individuals, world has become one big globally competitive corporation where each one is under pressure to perform. Each of us are finding it increasingly difficult to follow a routine which has ample time for ourselves, our aging parents, young children and other dependents. Needless to say, we all carry many monkeys on our back which, in turn, cause stress and tension on our mind. This condition for a long period takes a toll on our body in the form of problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, insomnia, memory impairment, etc. It is, therefore, imperative to give the mind some space where it can take things easy, relax, unwind and recharge.
There are various avenues and techniques for relaxation and each of them have the potential of providing calmness and peacefulness for your mind to take a break from the hustle and din of a busy day. Meditation, Yoga, listening or playing favourite music, spending some time with nature or even a work out in the gym can be effective methods of reducing stress and reviewing the causes of stress in a calm way to find ways to tackle them.
Thus, keeping all these five aspects in our radar and taking effective steps to follow the right measures for each of them is bound to give the desired results in our quest to attain high levels of physical wellness.
All the best!!