To get back to the topic of change at the personal level, let’s look at what we mean by “wellness.”
In terms of exercise, does this mean you have to work out at the gym? Does this mean lots of yoga and aerobics classes? How much does fitness play a role in your overall sense of wellbeing?
You may think that fitness is not an important part of your lifestyle, that you don’t have a lot of time for it right now. Maybe you enjoy various activities by find it hard to get motivated. In fact, you are probably so busy with life, that the thought of finding the time or energy to work out is the last thing on your mind.
Sometimes you may think to yourself, “I ought to start exercising more,” and you may try to come up with a plan, though unfortunately the plans don’t always carry through.When our busy lives combine with poor nutrition and lifestyle choices and a lack of physical movement, our mental and physical beings become compromised.
We put fuel in our vehicles when the tank is empty; we take our vehicle for regular maintenance as needed. If we didn’t do those things it wouldn’t run well, and eventually it would conk out. Our bodies and minds work in a similar way. Without adequate and timely fuel and maintenance, preventable issues can arise, and wear-and-tear concerns can turn into big problems.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased body fat, lack of endurance, emotional and physical fatigue, sleep issues, depression, stress – all of these problems can be addressed through diet and exercise, and working in conjunction with your other health care providers.
The easiest way to get motivated is to simply start moving. The next time you get a break from the office, take a walk. I don’t care where you walk to. Don’t take your car if you need to do a nearby errand. Walk instead. Take a moment to walk away from whatever you are doing and get some fresh air. Let the blood flow through your veins. Take a moment to feel grateful that you are alive and breathing. Even if you are having a horrible day.
Then you are ready to go back to whatever else it was that you were preoccupied with. Do this whenever you can. While it is a great tool on the job, it is also good to use at home. When taking a walk isn’t a possibility, then do some quick stretches. I recommend standing with feet together, and reaching the arms above the head for a full body lengthening stretch. Then, with arms raised above your head, take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, gently allow your torso to fall forward, letting your head and neck go, as you your hands reach for the floor. Don’t worry if you are not flexible and cannot touch your toes. That is not important, what is important is the movement. Then from this position, roll up one vertebrae at a time. Repeat as needed. Don’t forget to take a moment to be grateful for being alive and breathing.
This is a fitness routine that should be performed daily. It does not require a gym, a gym membership, an instructor, lots of time, space or fancy equipment. When done consistently, you may find that you actually have more time for fitness than you originally thought. You may decide to go for a longer walk, or do additional stretches. If you get to a point where you want to learn more, you may want to make an appointment with a personal trainer. Joining a gym isn’t enough. Having a trainer there is the motivation that you will need to keep you going there. Your trainer will work with you either 1-2 sessions a week to start with. As you progress, your trainer may meet with you less often, however, you will still see them when you go to the gym to work out on your own. Often, trainers will ask their clients to visit the gym on additional days to practice their training routine. While you may not have an appointment, you have someone that will hold you accountable for getting in and doing that workout on your own time. You’ll find after a while, you may not need the trainer anymore. You will have internal motivation.
There are always outside factors affecting our health and quality of life. While fitness cannot solve all of the problems of being healthy, it is an effective way to manage stress, control body weight, and to find more opportunities for social interactions. Wellness is not just fitness. It is also social, emotional, and spiritual. Sometimes we have to get the body moving to wake up the mind, and sometimes it is the other way around. Doing activities that incorporate attention to the breath and form combine body, mind, and energy to promote an enhanced sense of wellness.