You hear the term ‘holistic health’ a lot these days, but what does it actually mean? Essentially, it refers to processes that positively impact the mind as well as the body.
When it comes to a holistic approach to health and fitness, we might consider physical activity as one element, because we know that it positively affects the body. In fact, it can promote multiple aspects of our wellbeing, because exercise benefits not only the physical body, but also mental and emotional wellbeing.
Ensuring your cardiovascular health and muscular endurance are in top shape are central to what we consider as being ‘fit’, but aside from physical health, holistic fitness encompasses the importance of mental and emotional wellbeing with equal emphasis. It’s not simply about how happy you are either, in fact your mental resolve when faced with difficult or sometimes unhappy situations, is a significant part of what we consider to be our overall wellbeing.
Since our minds also age and lose their agility, it’s important to keep them sharp; even if we don’t suffer from mental illnesses such as dementia. We can exercise our neurons through puzzles, brain teasers, and an array of mobile apps that “train the brain”. Getting the right amount of sleep so we can continue to live every day to its fullest can also provide us a mental boost.
Part of working on our mental wellness can still be achieved with exercise and in HITZone – when we exercise and see results, we are positively motivated and grow in confidence.
If you struggle with eating the right food, or even the right amount of food, it can be difficult to break out of the cycle and find the balanced intake of nutrition needed to support normal growth development and a healthy body weight. Eating well is also the most effective way to reduce the risk of illness and disease and gives us enough energy to function day to day Make sure to consume a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, as by diversifying your plate, you will ensure you get the micronutrients your body needs. Pay attention to portion sizes to help with weight maintenance.
Emotional wellness encompasses the ability to navigate your feelings. This means identifying, assessing, and effectively sharing those feelings with others. Journaling is also an easy way to identify and process your feelings, especially if you’re not comfortable sharing them out loud. It’s always a great way to measure your progress or growth.
A daily routine that does not allow for positive eating and exercise habits is a major aspect of social wellbeing. If the body feels over-stressed due to a packed schedule, this may impact weight gain. If this is the case, it’s highly recommended that you reconsider your weekly schedule to incorporate some ‘me’ time for exercise. Even a short walk a day can make a big difference. Building and maintaining these networks take time and energy, but the work is worth the effort. And it will continue to serve you throughout your life.
The benefits of exercise on physical health include weight loss, improved cardiovascular capacity, increased strength and a reduced likelihood of heart disease. While exercise itself is a stressor on the body, when performed in moderate amounts it protects against the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and contributes towards optimal brain performance.
With high intense physical activity such as a HITZone session, the body is flooded with oxygen, and muscles worked to their limits. It’s typical with such exercise, however, to experience a sense of euphoria following the workout!
Links to further reading:
Western Connecticut State University