August marks National Wellness Month! The World Health Organization defines wellness as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or impairment.
In 2018, the 2nd edition of the National Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was published. The guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations to help individuals maintain or improve their health through physical activity and/or exercise. Exercise has been linked to more positive health outcomes now than ever before. Today, about half of American adults are living with one or more preventable chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity; and these conditions are highly influenced by the amount of exercise an individual takes part in routinely.
Below are some tips derived from the guidelines to help in identifying some ways to make your physical wellness a priority:
1. The overall goal is to move more and sit less. Simply reducing the amount of time you spend sitting down every day is beneficial.
2. Younger people and older adults benefit differently from exercise. For younger people, benefits include improved cardiovascular health and strengthened bones and muscles. For older adults, regular exercise can help with better balance and posture, and lower risks of falls and injury.
3. Go at your own pace. Begin with shorter duration exercises and slowly increase duration, intensity, and frequency.
In an ideal world, every day would be wellness day. However, the busyness of everyday life can cause self-care and wellness to fall on the backburner sometimes. These guidelines are a great start for getting practical information and tips on making your physical wellness a priority, and establishing and developing healthy habits to put into motion this month and beyond!
Kim Desir, M.S.
Resources: Piercy, K. L., Troiano, R. P., Ballard, R. M., Carlson, S. A., Fulton, J. E., Galuska, D. A., … & Olson, R. D. (2018). The physical activity guidelines for Americans. Jama, 320(19), 2020-2028.