We hear about this word “wellness” frequently whether it be on television, social media, through advertising and marketing, through our fitness professionals, and within our healthcare system. However, this term is still a confusing concept for many and obtaining health and wellness can be overwhelming for most. The definition of “wellness” is “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal”. I consider the concept of health and wellness a journey that we embark on throughout our lives. Each person’s journey is their own and there is not necessarily a finish line or beacon of health, but a life well lived.
There are many aspects of wellness that contribute to our overall health. The National Wellness Institute has defined six dimensions of wellness. The six dimensions of wellness include occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional wellness. These dimensions of wellness bring awareness to how many areas of our lives can affect our overall well-being. At Flourish Columbus Inc., we have created the 4 Pillars of Wellness which focuses on the aspects of wellness that can affect our musculoskeletal system and physical therapy outcomes including healthy movement, nutrition, sleep health, and stress management.
One of my favorite lifestyle concepts circulating the world of health and wellness is the “Blue Zones”. This term and concept was developed and researched by National Geographic, Dan Buettner, and many other organizations to discover the mystery behind healthy aging and longevity. These groups looked at 5 different communities throughout the world with the longest living people. These people were living well into their 90’s and beyond with minimal to no comorbidities and good mental health. The communities that were involved in the original studies included Okinawa (Japan), Ikaria (Greece), Sardinia, Nicoya (Costa Rica), and Loma Linda (California). The researchers discovered that all of these communities had commonalities which they defined as the “Power 9 Lifestyle Habits”. These habits included daily natural movement, having a feeling of purpose, downshift (downtime), eating until you are 80% full, eating 90% plant based, occasional and moderate red wine at 5, having the right tribe (healthy relationships), putting your loved ones first, and a sense of belonging to a community or spiritual group. Although, I am not supporting everyone taking up drinking red wine regularly, there are many aspects of this lifestyle that support overall wellness. Last year, our fusion fitness classes completed the “Blue Zones” 4-week challenge and this year it’s back by popular demand! I appreciate these lifestyle concepts because I feel that it taps into many aspects of wellness, brings us back to the simple things in life that are more powerful than we realize, and pulls us away from extremely restrictive lifestyles that are not sustainable for many.
As you reflect on how you can improve your overall health, I ask you choose one area of wellness that you can work on consistently over the next 6 months. Focus on that one health and wellness goal and allow yourself to work toward 80-90% consistency with that goal. You may be amazed at how one simple action can make a powerful impact on how you feel. If you need guidance and mentoring, our community has many professionals that can help. I challenge you in 2023 to give yourself grace and choose one thing that you can do for yourself.
Cheers to your health and wellness in 2023!