How to Improve Physical Health and Fitness to Be More Awesome
Doesn’t everyone want to be awesome? I do. What does it mean to be awesome? Does it mean you feel awesome? In my opinion, I think so. I’m April Peck from Save Me From, a brand with a mission to save hair, save lives and empower people. I’m going to tell you what physical health is, why it’s important for your wellbeing and offer you strategies to improve your own physical health and fitness. Why? So, you can feel empowered, BE MORE AWESOME, and because we think it’s another way we can help save lives. We want you to feel better, feel empowered and know you can be awesome. Spoiler alert. Physical health is more than just being fit and exercising. Keep reading to find out more.
Live Better as You Age
Anyone who knows me knows I like exercise. I like being fit. I like improving my stride, running far distances fast (well, at least I try to run fast), kickboxing, weight lifting…If I could work out all day, I would.
My love for physical activity is not a desire to be thin and its more than just a desire to be fit. I want to live my healthiest. I want to live a long life feeling well and strong. Well into my eighties, I want to hike up a challenging hill without losing my breath (TRUE STORY. This can happen. I’ve met an awesome eighty-year-old man who outpaced my twenty-year-old roommate on a hike in college). In college I decided to major in my passion Health Promotion: Fitness and Wellness Management so I could learn how to live better as I age. After taking certification courses ranging from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), writing hundreds of exercise prescriptions and spending a decade teaching group fitness classes, I want to share with you my most helpful tools to optimize your own health. It’s possible you don’t love physical activity (and the sweat resulting from it) as much as I do but I bet if given a choice as you get older, you’d rather stand out of your own chair than let someone lift you up. Improving your physical health now and making healthy lifestyle choices for the rest of your life can improve your chances that you’ll be strong, fit and empowered as you age. After learning more about how to improve your physical health, you’ll understand how improving your physical activity and fitness can help you be more awesome (Yes! you can be that awesome eighty-year old too).
You Can Be More Awesome
First things first, do you believe you can be more awesome? The definition of Awesome is something extremely impressive (or daunting). It’s something that inspires great admiration. It’s something extremely good or excellent.
I believe we all have purpose, we all have potential and we all have the power to accomplish greatness. Your ability to be awesome and accomplish greatness is relative to you and what you make it. You are awesome. (Ever hear the song Everything is Awesome? If not, now you have and I’m sorry (not sorry) because it’s going to be stuck in your head all day). If given the time to understand each person’s individually story, you’d think that too. I believe all people are awesome because everyone in their own way have rose above our own challenges and accomplished something extremely impressive (and we continue to do so every day). We are all equipped with the ability to adapt, improve and become even more awesome. Improving your physical health will lead to a more awesome YOU.
What is Physical Health?
You may have heard Trump just got busted forging the results of his physical health examination and wondered what’s included on a presidential physical health examination. In prior generations, physical health has merely meant someone who was not stricken with a serious illness. The physical health Wikipedia definition does not exist. When looking up physical health on Wikipedia, you’ll receive two result options; either health or physical fitness. Physical health is more than just being fit or health. Today’s definition can consider everything ranging from the absence of disease to fitness level and includes several vital components all crucial to sustaining overall health and wellness. These components include:
- A Triad of Physical Activity (See Below)
- A Balance of Nutrition and Diet
- Abstinence from Addictive Substances
- Rest and Sleep
- Goal Setting
- Managing Self-Care and Stress
When all six components are addressed and implemented into healthy lifestyle habits, physical health can be achieved. I’ll cover some “getting-started” basics in this article. It’s important to know maximum benefits can be achieved when you contact a certified professional who will conduct a physical health evaluation and prescribe a personalized regimen according to your goals.
Why is Physical Health Good?
Body, mind and spirit are basic components of physical health. I’ll focus primarily on how the body (fitness activity), can improve your mind and spirit.
- People of all ages, both male and female, benefit from regular fitness activity.
- Physical activity reduces the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality and of coronary heart disease, obesity, hypertension, breast and colon cancer and diabetes mellitus.
- Physical activity benefits mental health and has been shown to decrease feelings of anxiety and depression. It is a natural mood lifter. It can relieve feelings of stress and anger. Think of it as your daily dose of happiness.
- Physical activity enhances feelings of well-being. It keeps the doctor away and helps you live longer.
- Physical activity is important for the health of muscles, bones and joints. It keeps your body physically fit and able as you age. Don’t fall victim to the saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Keep moving and your body will reward you with enhanced strength, stamina and ability to function.
- Physical activity improves performance at work, recreational and sports activities.
A Triad of Physical Activity
As a former personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I’m constantly asked “What is the best exercise?” My answer, “The one you do.”
Physical activity, otherwise known as exercise or fitness, is a critical component of physical health. In order to improve overall cardiovascular health, The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember.
Physical activity can be broken down into a triad of activities:
Cardiovascular Fitness: This fitness is sometimes referred to as aerobic fitness. It’s the ability of the heart, blood cells and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to working muscle tissues and the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement. In short, it is your body’s ability to take in, transport and use oxygen effectively while exercising.
Resistance Training:Combining muscular strength and endurance and ranging from upper and lower body exercises. Although these two fitness activities go hand-and-hand, its important to understand their difference. Muscular strength measures a non-beginners one repetition max strength. It is a measure of the greatest amount of force that muscle can product in a single maximum effort. Muscular endurance refers to the muscle’s ability to exert a submaximal force repeatedly over time. When starting out, its important to know both fitness activities so you can develop attainable fitness goals.
Flexibility: Flexibility is important because it allows for better performance when playing sports and exercising. It makes bending, walking and lifting easier and can help reduce injuries.
A balanced fitness regimen will regularly combine all three activities. These are essential when creating a physical fitness plan. In addition, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends the Activity Pyramid as a guide that adults may use to plan for an active lifestyle. The goal of any exercise program is the successful integration of exercise science with behavioral techniques that result in long-term program compliance and attainment of the individual’s goals.
Bullet journaling your physical health
As we have mentioned in previous articles, your mental, physical, and spiritual health can improve greatly when you pair it with a bullet journal. We will be providing your own SaveMeFrom bullet journal soon, but for now we want to talk about why you’ll want to give it a try.
First, bullet journaling helps you get a lot of information in with just a little bit more of your time. When you start to bullet journal your physical fitness, you might be able to see that you live a fairly sedentary life and that you feel better on the days that you exercise or spend time outdoors.
Next, bullet journaling helps you comprehensively see what things are getting in the way of your goals to take better actions with your physical fitness. For example, if you find that you spend a couple of hours each evening catching up on your shows, you might decide that you need to do your exercise bike while you do that, or go for a run during that time instead.
Last, bullet journaling will encourage you in your process because you’ll be able to see how your progress has come so far and you’ll better and more proud of your accomplishment.