Are you looking for ways to improve your health and wellness? In this article, we’ll cover some of the most important health and wellness benefits to live a happier life.
People often use the terms health and wellness interchangeably. Although a person cannot have one and not the other, they are two novel concepts that are quite variable, and their meanings are different.
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Health and Wellness Benefits
We are living longer than ever before, but we’re not necessarily healthier. Learn about the benefits of healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
What is health?
World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (illness).”
What is wellness?
WHO defines wellness as “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups,” and wellness is expressed as “a positive approach to living.”
Health and wellness difference
The primary difference between health and wellness is that health is the goal and wellness is the active process of achieving it. You truly cannot have health without first achieving wellness. Wellness has a direct influence on overall health, which is essential for living a robust, happy, and fulfilled life.
Health vs Wellness
While you cannot choose the state of health, you can consciously choose wellness by living your life responsibly and taking proactive steps for your well-being.
- Health comprises the diagnosis of a disease/illness, predisposition to a disease, and any unexpected injury.
- Wellness is an active process of growth and change to reach your fullest health and well-being. It is associated with actively pursuing activities, making choices and lifestyle changes, controlling risk factors that can harm a person, focusing on nutrition, having a balanced diet, and following spiritual practices that lead to holistic health.
Risk factors are actions or conditions that increase a person’s risk of illness or injury. Some of the risk factors that can be harmful to good health are:
- Smoking: It is a major risk factor for lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
- Drinking alcohol: It can cause liver damage, stroke, heart diseases, and cancer.
- Unprotected sex: It spreads sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- Extreme physical activity/sports: This may lead to broken bones and other types of injuries.
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The health and wellness
Wellness is more than just physical health; it is holistic and multidimensional. It comprises six dimensions that include physical, intellectual, emotional, environmental, social, and spiritual wellness.
- Physical: Physical wellness increases physical fitness by being physically fit. A person would have an enhanced ability to prevent illness and diseases. Exercise stimulates a healthy mind and body. A sedentary lifestyle can be avoided by increasing physical activity in everyday life, such as walking, cycling, walking the dog, taking the steps, and hiking. Having good nutrition, eating a balanced diet, drinking sufficient water (eight glasses per day), and getting adequate sleep promotes a person’s physical wellness.
- Intellectual: Mental exercise and engagement with learning, problem-solving, and creativity support intellectual wellness and promote a better attitude. People who learn new things and challenge their mind can avoid mental health problems.
- Emotional: A person with emotional wellness can deal with stressful situations. A person who is aware of their feelings has good self-esteem and has empathy toward others’ feelings would have emotional wellness.
- Environmental: Awareness of the role we play in improving our natural environment rather than denigrating it and maintaining and living in a healthy physical environment free of hazards promotes wellness.
- Social: Social circles and support networks are invaluable to the overall well-being of a person. Relating, interacting, and contributing to a community, establishing good interpersonal relations, and maintaining long-term relationships with family and friends keeps a person happier and healthier.
- Spiritual: Spiritual wellness does not imply religion or faith of a person, but the search for meaning and purpose of human existence. Developing compassion, caring, forgiving, and having a purpose in life help in spiritual wellness. This can be achieved through meditation, volunteer work, spending time in nature, etc.
On the one end, patients with poor health engage the medical fraternity to treat illnesses. On the other end, people focus proactively on prevention and maximize their vitality. They adopt lifestyles that improve health, prevent disease, and enhance their quality of life and a sense of well-being. Wellness is proactive, preventive, and driven by self-responsibility for healthy living.
Health and wellness articles
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Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Nutrition and Food
- Balance your meals. Have protein, healthy carbohydrate, fat and vegetables and/fruit at each meal.
- Healthy carbohydrates include brown rice, whole wheat bread, pasta and crackers, starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips and potatoes, quinoa, millet, amaranth.
- Eat three meals plus snacks. Eating three meals plus snacks ensures you will eat on a schedule and get enough calories and nutrients. The metabolism functions best on a similar schedule daily. Eating every 4-5 hours guarantees plenty of energy and efficient metabolism.
- Snacks are important if you get hungry in between meals. They comprise a protein and/or fat + a carbohydrate (refer to snacking handout). Snacks keep your energy going until meal time and reduce your chances of overeating at meals.
- Proportion your plate to visually have about ½ vegetables and/or fruit, ¼ protein, ¼ healthy carbohydrate and some fat at each meal.
Be nice to your body and pay attention to what it needs;
Eat enough every day: not eating enough tells your body to conserve calories and energy, and so the next time you eat, more of the energy will be kept rather than being properly used.
Hydrate: Dehydration makes you feel tired. Caffeine and alcohol are very dehydrating. Balance caffeine or alcohol consumption with non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluids.
Sleep: Sleep deprivation increases appetite (and often body weight) and decreases brain function. So proper sleep helps your energy, weight maintenance and your ability to think and concentrate.
Exercise: Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week. It can even be split up into 10-minute walks. The effects of brief physical exertion last much longer than those of caffeine, and exercise decreases stress rather than increasing it! Finding a physical activity that you like to do will make exercise more fun and something to look forward to, as well as help to keep you healthy throughout life. So try something new or something that has always appealed to you.
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