Part of Campus Recreation’s mission is to create a culture of wellness in the Student Recreation Center and our campus community. Over the next few months, we’ll be examining eight different wellness dimensions and giving you some tips on how to incorporate holistic wellness into your daily life. Our focus this week is physical wellness.
What is physical wellness?
Physical wellness means taking proper care of our bodies for optimal health and functioning. Although fitness is an aspect of physical wellness, it is not all that it entails. Nutrition, sleep, and your mental wellbeing are also significant parts of this aspect of wellness.
People might tend only to consider the physical dimension when thinking about overall wellbeing. However, physical wellness is just as interconnected and affected by the other seven dimensions as any other aspect of wellness. Stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems can manifest with physical symptoms. It’s essential to look at your wellbeing holistically and learn to be mindful of how each dimension affects you and your body.
Tips for working on your physical wellness:
Try and stay active as much as possible. Some examples are taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going on walks, working out, or participating in a recreational sport. Find a type of activity you enjoy, and it won’t ever feel like a chore.
Eat mindfully. Eating healthy can be challenging, especially if you’re a student strapped for cash (or if you’re staring down the unlimited options at the Hawk). Certain foods aren’t inherently bad – just be mindful of what you eat and try to make sure you’re consuming a good balance of complex carbs, protein, fats, and fruits and veggies. Also, don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Check out the Student’s Guide to Nutrition from Best Colleges if you want some tips for making the most out of your meals at the dining hall.
Get outside. Even spending just a little time outdoors every day can majorly improve your mood and physical wellness. Try switching your indoor cardio workout for an outdoor jog or hike, or take your study session outdoors. Just make sure you wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water if you’re going to be outside for an extended period!
Drink water. Water is essential for almost all the systems in your body to function correctly (sorry, energy drinks, sodas, coffee, and anything else packed with sugar doesn’t count). Being dehydrated can cause you to feel groggy, irritated, and unfocused. The amount of water you need per day will be different for everyone, and factors include sex, weight, activity level, and climate. The common recommendation of eight 8oz glasses a day works as a base, but you’ll likely need more. Check out this article from Healthline for more information on how to estimate your water needs.
Get plenty of sleep. Just like water, the amount of sleep you get can affect all aspects of your wellness. Consistently not getting enough sleep can lead to serious health problems over the long run, including diabetes and heart disease. So start your bedtime routine early, stop scrolling through social media in bed, and make sure you’re getting the right amount of z’s.
Do sweat the small stuff. Ensure you do all the little things you know you need to do to maintain your physical wellbeing. Brush your teeth, take your medication, fix your posture, keep up with your hygiene, and get some sunlight. Creating a routine where you take care of all your basic physical needs creates an excellent foundation for your physical wellness and can help you still feel ok on days where you don’t get enough sleep or activity.
The obvious: stay away from behaviors that could cause you harm. Avoid drugs, binge drinking, unsafe sex, and other risky activities that could cause permanent damage to your physical health.
How can SOU help you improve your physical wellness?
- Get involved with Campus Recreation! We offer programs and services for many aspects of physical wellness. Visit the Student Recreation Center to work out with our high-end equipment, participate in Rec Sports, or get outside with the Outdoor Program.
- The Student Health and Wellness Center offers many services for your physical and mental health needs.
- Sign up for a Physical Education or Outdoor Adventure Leadership class. Go to the Class Schedule and search under PEA or OAL.
- For students recovering from addiction, the Community of Recovery in Education (CORE) program provides community and support.