In this column, Chinwe Obinwanne unravels tips and tricks that help women and mothers maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. She also debunks deep-rooted fitness myths and suggests ideas that make for the overall well-being of the female folk.
By Chinwe Obinwanne (Naijafitmoms)
Are you a woman who is seeking tangible ways to improve your overall health and wellness? Then this space was created just for you. Read on as we explore our first topic in this column. Let’s talk about Wellness and You.
You must have heard of the term “Wellness” and like most people, you’ve probably thought that it simply refers to your health. However, wellness is a different cup of tea.
Wellness is all about pursuing healthy habits and making lifestyle changes to achieve better physical and mental health results that lead to thriving health and overall wellbeing. So, you see that wellness is significant to your overall health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is defined as being “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The difference between health and wellness is that health is the objective and wellness is the process of achieving it – one which is multidimensional.
The different dimensions of wellness
There are six dimensions of wellness, and they include:
1. Physical wellness – This is when you maintain a healthy quality of life that enables you to thrive daily without undue fatigue or physical stress. It consists of identifying the role of physical activity, healthy eating, and optimal sleep in being healthy, as well as preventing injuries/illnesses and managing chronic health conditions.
Key aspects of physical wellness
Sleep – It’s common knowledge that most adults need 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy and alert. Yet, these days, not many people get in that much sleep. While you can blame it on work, the demands of the home front, and other factors – it doesn’t take away from the fact that your health is greatly affected by sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation can put your health and safety at risk and even worse when it becomes a habit. Research shows that some of the potential problems associated with sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. Other potential problems include obesity, depression, reduced immune system function, and lower sex drive.
Good nutrition – Most people think that eating healthy simply means partially starving or eating boring vegetables for the rest of their lives. This makes the thought unappealing and the practice impossible to adopt. However, maintaining good nutrition means that you eat meals rich in all classes of food as often as possible and that you watch the content of what you drink.
When you eat healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and whole grains, your body gets the nutrients that support its vital functions and also balance your mental wellbeing.
Eating healthy will require some effort on your part to plan your meals ahead of time and maybe create and adhere to a meal timetable. Trying to wing it with nutrition is the reason people eat what they find when they’re hungry – which in most cases will be calorie-dense fast foods or carbohydrate-heavy options that are not the best options for their health.
Physical activity – Not most people like the idea of exercising. In fact, a greater percentage of people believe that exercise is meant for those who want to lose weight or those training for some sort of bodybuilding competition. This misconception along with the idea that exercise is too painful to become a lifestyle is the reason most people shy away from it.
However, exercising a.k.a being physically active is meant for everyone who desires to live a healthy and functional life. The human body was made to move – and just like an engine is oiled and regularly warmed up to keep it functional, the human body needs to be warmed up through movement in the form of exercises. This keeps all your joints, bones, and muscles working to the optimum and prevents unnecessary strains and heart diseases among others.
According to health experts, an average adult should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must get into rigorous routines or visit the gym. To get this much level of physical activity, you just have to be intentional about what you do. A well-thought-out exercise routine can only be 20 minutes of your day and should include some cardio, strength, and mobility exercises.
On days you have less time on your hands, you can simply be intentional about your movement. Walk brisker, take the stairs two at a time, stand often when at work and move around when you’re on the phone. All these activities engage your muscles and keep you physically active.
Hygiene – This involves taking action to maintain health and prevent disease. Good personal hygiene will not only keep you healthy but can boost your mood leading to better mental health.
Relaxation – When you relax, you ease off the tension that builds in the muscles and reduce your chances of pain, stress, and fatigue.
2. Intellectual wellness – This is when you engage in mental exercises through learning, creativity, and problem-solving to support and improve your intellect thereby promoting a better attitude. Just like the body, your mind and intellect get stronger and sharper when you exercise them regularly and doing this helps you to avoid mental health problems.
3. Emotional wellness – When you have emotional wellness, you can handle stressful situations and exhibit a strong sense of self-esteem. You’ll also be able to empathize with people because you are aware of your own feelings and theirs.
4. Environmental wellness – This entails maintaining and living in a healthy physical environment free of risks to you or others.
5. Social wellness – No man is an island hence social circles and support networks are critical to the overall well-being of a person. You’ll agree that when you relate, interact, contribute, and establish good relationships with family and friends, it adds more joy, happiness, and fulfilment to your life.
6. Spiritual wellness – This doesn’t necessarily mean religion or faith – but can dovetail into it depending on where your search for purpose leads. Maintaining spiritual wellness is when you search for and find the meaning and purpose of your existence. Developing compassion, forgiving, caring, selflessness, and having a life purpose help in spiritual wellness.
You may already imbibe one or two or more aspects of wellness – which is great. However, a constant striving towards overall wellness should be the goal if we want to live healthier and happier lives.
I look forward to having you next time as we explore topics that contribute to holistic wellbeing for us as humans.
Chinwe Obinwanne is a wife and mother to three adorable kids. She lives and works in Lagos and is the founder of Naijafitmoms Fitness Empire – a fitness company designed to help everyone especially women and mothers make fitness a lifestyle by offering fitness training, guides, motivation, and professional consultancy that make the process of keeping fit possible to imbibe.
She is a professional fitness trainer/consultant who has featured as a guest fitness trainer on Television Continental (TVC)’s Wake Up Nigeria show and Brilla FM. She has also worked with various Nigerian brands to promote fitness within the nation.
She often speaks at company events to encourage a healthy lifestyle and holds specialized online fitness classes for clients all over the world helping them to meet their individual fitness needs.
Connect with her via Instagram and Facebook @naijafitmoms or Twitter @9jafitmoms, and YouTube at Naijafitmoms TV.