If you think that hitting the gym or clocking your daily 15-minute treadmill run has your physical wellbeing sorted, think again.
Health and wellbeing coaches stress that physical wellness is more than that. Paying attention to your body by taking adequate rest, having a balanced diet, and engaging in physical activities are all important aspects of one’s overall wellbeing.
“Our overall health is a combination of three things – physical, mental and having a strong purpose in life,” says Bengaluru-based fitness coach Arshad Aman.
These five practices hold the key to physical wellbeing:
It took years of honouring her sleep cycle and her body clock for young Alisha Joseph to see the visible benefits. “I realised that when I adhered to my body clock and started respecting its needs, my body thanked me in different ways. It fixed my digestion issues as well,” says Joseph who also noticed that a good sleep hygiene worked wonders for her emotional wellness too.
The US Department of Health and Human Services says that it is important to have a sound sleep of about 7-8 hours for a healthy lifestyle.
“Getting adequate sleep, particularly at night is important as it refreshes our body both mentally and physically. Disturbed and poor sleep will simply make you feel lethargic or irritated throughout the day,” says Delhi-based psychologist Dr Shivani Misri Sadhoo who adds that not getting enough sleep or not sleeping well also slows down a person’s metabolism.
A balanced platter is also important for one’s physical wellbeing. According to Bengaluru-based nutrition and wellness consultant Sheela Krishnaswamy nutrition-rich food or a well-planned diet will help a person to be not just healthy but also sleep better, fight off numerous diseases with improved immunity; and stay energetic.
According to Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Dietician and Head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru, a balanced diet should address the following: physiological and traditional eating needs; absorption; portion size; capture the condition they may be trying to overcome, such as anxiety, hyperacidity, pain, headache, blurred vision, or bloating. Above all, it also should be easy to follow.
Being physically active is obviously the most essential aspect of bodily wellness. Interestingly, a balanced workout routine along with being active through the day can well address this need.
Fitness coach Aman cites books on health and longevity – Ikigai and The Blue Zones – and says, “Physical activity keeps the mind engaged which in turn boosts one’s mental and physical health.”
A person does not need to do yoga or go to the gym to work out. It is different for everyone. Some like to swim, some prefer walking, some would rather jog, and so on. One has to figure out what one would like to do and the pursue the regimen diligently.
A community-based cohort study by Milan Chang and published in the Journal of Gerontology showed that up to five hours of physical activity per week improved the mental abilities of the participants; and they were at a reduced risk of getting affected by dementia in future.
Yoga teacher Bhavna Yadav stresses expert guidance in structured physical activities. “One can’t just go to the gym and start lifting weights. It’s better to consult a doctor or an expert before understanding what is good for you. Otherwise, for an average person, some amount of physical activity like 45 minutes of walking every day would be great,” she says.
“Personal hygiene helps to ward off annoying infections that spread through contact. It protects you from infections or diseases that could weaken your immune system,” says Dr Chetan More, a general physician in Nagpur.
Learning to relax
The art of knowing how to relax is one of the most important aspects to lead a healthy life. According to the American Institute of Stress, there are a lot of diseases and disorders that can come to a person from chronic stress such as depression, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, heartburn, and insomnia.
According to Dr Sadhoo, one can relax by doing several activities like gardening, listening to music, doing meditation, or simply by interacting with family and friends.
Bhavna Yadav says, “Another way to relax is through yogic exercises. Breathing is a very important aspect of yoga. If your breathing is not right, your health cannot be okay. Shavasana, for example, helps one to relax.”