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Water + Wellness = Strength
Physical wellness is one of the most important things you can do to keep your body and mind healthy. Sometimes it is difficult to give this the attention it needs, but the benefits are worth the effort when you do. Being connected to the water and blue spaces through the power of Water Wellness can play a significant part in the levels and enjoyment of your physical well-being.
Physical Wellness is just one of the Six Water Wellness Dimensions but is the most powerful for long-term benefits.
The meaning of physical wellness
Physical wellness is about taking care of your body, listening to its needs and taking the steps for optimal health and functioning. It’s more than just physical health. It includes physical activity, healthy habits, sleep patterns and nutrition. It can help strengthen you both physically and mentally, with many ways to help you feel better, look better and live better – personally and professionally.
Here are a few reasons to focus on your physical wellness:
- It keeps you physically fit and able
- Boosts your energy level so you can get more done
- It’s a natural mood lifter
- Promotes a positive attitude and outlook
- Helps manage stress and tension
- Helps keeps the doctor away
- Can help you live longer
- Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep better
- Improve your self-image and self-confidence
- Helps you spend more time outdoors
We only have one body. It’s only physically on this planet once. It’s down to us how we treat and look after it – yourself and others. Sedentary behaviour has been linked to many medical problems, and the impacts of not caring for your physical wellness can be devastating.
Why is physical health important?
According to the World Health Organisation, ‘regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and manage non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers. It also helps prevent hypertension, maintain healthy body weight and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being’. All good reasons to give it attention during your life.
Choosing to be physically active is one of the few lifestyle choices you can make that has such an impact on your health. The long-term benefits are significant, but the immediate benefits are also as valuable to your physical wellness, as highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
How to improve and maintain physical wellness by being connected with the water
Adults should do some form of physical activity every day. According to the NHS in the UK, ‘adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week’.
However, everyone is different, but we are all humans. Taking a walk in a local park or lifting some light weights is a great step towards achieving good physical activity goals. Sticking with activities you enjoy and getting active for just 10 minutes a day helps towards your physical wellness.
Here are some examples of moderate water-related activities where you breathe faster but can still hold a conversation:
- brisk walking along a river
- riding a bike along a canal towpath
- using a beach bench for strengthening exercises
- river trekking
- water aerobics
- gentle kayaking or canoeing
- beach yoga
Here are some different examples of vigorous water-related activities where you work harder and find it more difficult to say more than a few words without pausing for breath:
- jogging around a lake
- running on a treadmill with a virtual beach on the screen
- working out at a beach gym
- fast rowing
- water skiing
The enjoyment of physical activities
A recent Sport England survey found that only 31.4% of people enjoy participating in sports and physical activity. This highlights the importance of finding something you enjoy if you are going to maintain your physical wellness. Without enjoyment, you will find it hard to pursue its long-term benefits. If anything, you may suffer more from frustration or a feeling of failure if you don’t find something you can stick with.
As someone who enjoys being around the water, find the best watersport or activity for you. Try new activities out. Mix them up for variety. Join clubs for more engagement. Take lessons for more confidence. Take a family member or friend along for more encouragement. Set goals. Ensure it works for you. It also needs to be convenient and work with your lifestyle.
The added benefit of being in, near or on the water is this environment’s happiness and calmness. The fresh air. Being outdoors in nature. The appealing waterscape backdrop. Benefiting from an added dose of vitamin D. It helps with your motivation to keep going. When cooling down, take a moment to just relax and feel refreshed around that body of water you have grown to love. You’ll be amazed at the improvements, both physically and mentally.
Physical wellness and healthy habits
Healthy habits can have one of the biggest impacts on your physical wellness. Making healthy choices can help you feel better and live longer. It’s important to identify unhealthy patterns and triggers such as poor diet, eating late at night, smoking, alcohol or drugs, and set realistic goals to change them. Remove temptations and find ways to make healthier choices easier. Give yourself healthy rewards when you’ve achieved a small goal or milestone.
Getting enough sleep
Healthy habits also include getting enough quality sleep. Adults are recommended 7 – 8 hours a night. Doing physical activity during the day will help you sleep better at night. Being calm and listening to waves, or the splashing of a waterfall cascading over a recording can help drift you off into a deep sleep. Avoiding electronic screens and stressful situations late at night will make for better dreamtime, and an evening stroll along your favourite body of water will set you up for a more pleasant sleep. Routines are important. Stick to them if you can.
Rehydration throughout the day
Naturally, Water Wellness is associated with the intake of enough rehydration each day. It is often overlooked as an aspect of maintaining physical wellness, and as you age, it’s even more important. The recommended amount of water we should drink (or consume in other drinks or food) is about 2 litres for a 60kg person, spread out across your day. If you weigh more or less than this, you can work out the amount by your weight in kg multiplied by 0.033.
Hydration is critical to regulating your body temperature, keeping joints lubricated, preventing infections, keeping organs functioning properly and delivering nutrients to cells. It can also improve your mood, energy levels, focus, thinking ability, weight loss, skin complexion and sleep quality.
Eating a healthier diet
There is so much information out there about how to be healthier through food, and each diet and lifestyle is down to personal preference and tolerance. However, there are some general guidelines that help physical wellness through what you eat. Eating various foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meat, seafood, eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese give balance to the nutrients you need.
Limiting foods that are low in vitamins and minerals, high in salt and cutting down on sugar is beneficial. Replacing saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fats helps protect your heart. Eat more fibre to keep things moving and choose more complex carbs such as whole-grain bread, starchy vegetables and legumes. These are higher in fibre, digest more slowly, help you feel fuller for longer and avoid blood sugar spikes.
Eating slower also has great benefits. It helps you feel fuller for longer, giving your brain time to realise how much you’ve already eaten. Eating slower often leads to chewing more which is good for your digestion, allowing your stomach to absorb the nutrients you need more effectively. Avoid eating when distracted or caught up in the moment of stress – it leads to eating quicker and more without realising.
Try this exercise to see the difference. Enjoy a picnic at the beach. Take your packed lunch from work to a riverside bench. Book a waterfront restaurant with stunning views. Take your time to appreciate the surroundings. Relax. Take your time to enjoy the food you are about to eat. Really acknowledge the moment. You’ll feel more satisfied with the meal. You’ll feel fuller quicker. You’ll feel better.
Physical wellness can touch almost every part of your life. It is often underestimated how much of your attention it really needs but by practising Water Wellness, there are many different water-related activities that can help.
There is only one of you. Find your inner strength. Live your best life.
Water + Wellness = Strength
Gill is a full-time water lover, writer and creator of Water Wellness. Whilst spending several years in Australia, she found a passion for being by or on the water whilst camping in the great outdoors.
After a recent battle of kicking cancer’s butt, she found herself realigning her important values and purpose in life. Now back living on the stunning South Coast of the UK, she is inspiring and educating others on the power of Water Wellness – a holistic lifestyle concept including emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual, social and occupational dimensions, where the impact of being in, on, under or by the water during times of struggle is legendary.
When she can’t be found in a daydream near the water or bobbing on a kayak, you’ll catch her planning her next travel adventure or journaling to appreciate how great life really can be.