Physical

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Physical wellness encompasses a variety of healthy behaviours including adequate exercise, proper nutrition, abstaining from harmful habits like excessive alcohol intake and drug use. Physical wellness means learning about medical conditions, disease
prevention, getting regular physical check ups and protecting yourself from injuries and harm. Developing healthy habits now will help you live a longer happier life.

Signs of Healthy Physical Wellness

Asking yourself these important questions…

  • Do I know important health numbers, like my cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels?
  • Do I get annual physical exams?
  • Do I avoid using tobacco products?
  • Do I get sufficient amount of sleep?
  • Do I have an established exercise routine?
  • Do I eat a balanced diet?

If you answered “No” to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your physical wellness.

Strategies to Enhance your Physical Wellness:

  • Exercise daily
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
  • Get adequate rest and a good nights sleep (7.5-8 hours/night)
  • Always wear a seatbelt, helmet and other protective equipment
  • Eat a balanced diet, nutritious food and control your portions
  • Schedule an appointment with a registered dietician
  • Stay hydrated (drink lots of water and/or herbal teas)
  • Stop smoking and protect yourself against second hand smoke
  • Use alcohol in moderation and avoid drugs
  • Schedule annual check- ups and screenings (ie. Routine blood work, pap tests, regular STI and HIV testing, etc.)
  • Start a food security initiative at Brescia
  • Healthy-eating education
  • Food skills training (e.g., preparing, cooking, growing food)
  • Promoting nutrition literacy for example, through Brescia’s FRESH (Food Resources and Education for Student Health)
  • Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store more often because that is where all the nutrient-dense food is!
  • Mix half-caffeinated with half-decaffeinated coffee to avoid becoming too dependent on caffeine
  • Get up at the same time each morning (including weekends) to promote good sleep habits, prevent fatigue, and increase mental functioning
  • Create an optimal opportunity for quality sleep by improving your sleep environment: your bedroom needs to be dark, slightly cool, and contain no electronic devices
  • You can ease a headache or migraine by drinking lots of water and taking a nap (no more than 90 minutes)
  • Set small, reasonable fitness goals for yourself. For example, commit to walking 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks, then progress to 15 minutes of walking and 15 minutes of running per day for the next 2 weeks, etc.
  • Avoid the all or nothing mentality when it comes to exercise— a 10 minute walk here and there is still better than nothing at all
  • Increase your wellness by not dining in front of your television, phone or computer, but instead with people who care about you

Benefits/Facts of Physical Wellness:

  • Walking can increase your mental and physical well-being by releasing a natural rush of endorphins, which, relieves pain, enhances the immune system and delays the aging process.
  • A daily walk in nature can reduce the risk of mental health issues by 50% and can be as effective as taking an anti-depressant for depression.
  • Physical activity can maintain strong bones, decreasing your risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Tips on Eating and Physical Wellness:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast that is high in protein and fibre within two hours of waking.
  • Interventions provided by Registered Dietitian to individuals with mental health conditions can lead to reduced nutrition-related side effects of psychiatric medications, improved cognition, better self-management of concurrent and comorbid conditions,
    and improved overall occupational, social, and psychological functioning.
  • Targeted nutritional interventions exist for mental health symptoms such as depression, mania, psychosis, delirium, dementia, disordered eating, sleep problems, and substance use.
  • Eat well-balanced meals (50% vegetables, 30% fats and 20% carbohydrates).
  • A healthier alternative to white or instant rice is brown whole grain or basmati rice, which contains fibre, protein, and calcium.

Resources

On and Off Campus
• Western Campus Recreation Centre
• Western Nutrition Information Services
• Dietitian Service- Western University, Wellness Education Centre, UCC Contact: 519.661.2111 Ext. 82994

 

Online Resources

Apps
• UP Coffee
• Livestrong My Quit Coach
• Quit It Lite- Smoking
• Quit Now!
• My Fitness Pal
• SleepBot
• Smoke Free- Quit Smoking now and stop for good App
• Clue (track your cycle with this app)

Recommend a resource, tool, tip or app that has helped you with the seven dimensions of wellness by emailing the Student Life Centre

References:
Some information taken from: Promoting Mental Health through Healthy Eating and Nutritional Care. Dec. 2012 (Dietitians of Canada)
Canada, Parliament, Senate. (2006). Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. M.J.L. Kirby (Chair) & W.J. Keon (Deputy Chair).
Out of the shadows at last: Transforming mental health, mental illness and addiction services in Canada. 38th Parl., 1st sess., p. 42.
University of Calgary