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So Why is Physical Health Important?

This is the second installment in an eight-part series on holistic health.


The physical aspects of well-being are often the first thing people think of when they hear the term ‘health.’ The buzzword may conjure up images of gym-bros in the squat rack or ‘almond moms’ cruising the aisles at Whole Foods.


And while exercise and nutrition are essential components to one’s physical health, you must also take into consideration sleep + recovery, hygiene, and overall self-care. Let’s break down each of these into more detail:


Physical Activity


I’m sure you’re well aware that it’s important to be active and exercise on a regular basis. However, with all the information out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.


The bottom line is this: the best type of physical activity for you is the one that you enjoy the most. If you look forward to movement, and appreciate the time you spend doing something that’s good for your body, you are more likely to exercise on a consistent basis.


And when it comes to physical health, consistency is key.


There are so many different ways that you can be active on a daily basis, all it takes is figuring out which method is right for you. Check out this list of examples:

  • Walking

  • Cycling

  • Kickboxing

  • Pilates

  • Yoga

  • Weight Lifting

  • Running

  • Dancing

  • Playing Sports

  • Gardening

  • Swimming

  • Hiking

The possibilities are endless! Anything that gets your heart rate up and keeps you moving is considered physical activity, it’s as simple as that.


Rest + Recovery


While it may seem like the direct opposite of activity, rest and recovery are actually complementary and essential to achieving physical health.


For example, we all know how important a good night’s sleep is!


For an active person, sleep is when the body is able to recover and rebuild muscles that were broken down during exercise. It all ensures that you have the energy you need to get up and moving again the next day!


Recovery refers to the steps you take to replenish your body after physical activity. It involves your post-workout meal, stretching, and even ice baths (if you’re into that)!


It’s easy to forget the role that rest and recovery plays in your physical health, but if you don’t take time for your body to rebuild and replenish, you will be vulnerable to injury and burnout.


Prioritize rest and recovery in your daily routine by building it into your schedule!


Nutrition


The way you eat is another big pillar of physical health. As we dive into this topic, I want to first say that no eating plan, or ‘diet’, is perfect for everyone! We are all unique individuals with unique needs, backgrounds, and preferences. Because of this, the approach that we are going to take to nutrition is called Balanced Eating.


Hopefully, you are familiar with the food groups, or at least have a general idea of what counts as a vegetable or serving of protein. We won’t get into too much detail, but the idea of balanced eating is based on the six food group, so here they are:


  • Grains: bread, pasta, rice, quinoa

  • Vegetables: broccoli, salad, peppers, carrots

  • Fruits: apples, grapes, berries, melon

  • Proteins: chicken, tofu, beans, eggs

  • Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt, cream

  • Oils/Sweets: butter, desserts, olive oil


Rather than labeling some of these foods as “healthy” and others as “unhealthy,” balanced eating takes the approach that ALL foods are part of a healthy diet.


As long as you get in your greens, whole grains, vitamins and minerals, there is certainly room for your favorite sweets and desserts in moderation. Balanced eating is NOT based on restriction, and because of that it is a much more realistic and effective approach to a healthy diet!


Hygiene + Self Care


Self Care can take on many different forms, but the bottom line is this: it’s giving your body what it needs.


On a daily basis, you practice self care through the little habits that have been established over the course of your life - brushing your teeth, washing your hair, cleaning the space around you. These are all examples of good hygiene that should be implemented on a daily basis.


On some occasions, however, your body could use a little extra TLC. In fact, intentionally taking measures to care for yourself physically is a sign of good mental health as well. Try one of these practices:

  • Stretch when you wake up, or before bed

  • Take walk breaks throughout the day

  • Wash your face

  • Sit outside

  • Journal

  • Listen to your favorite music

  • Meditate

  • Unplug from social media

  • Take a long bath

Like I said, self care looks different for everyone. The best thing you can do for your body is to give it what it needs! On days when you feel unmotivated, lethargic, or lacking in confidence, take some extra time to care for yourself and realign your mental and physical health.


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I hope you can see that physical health is not only important, but also easy to implement on a daily basis. If you’re newly investing in your health and wellness, make sure to start small, one step at a time, and find what works best for you.

Check back next week for an overview on our third pillar of holistic health - Social Health!


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