Physical Health — Physical activity and fitness, diet and nutrition and sleep
What condition is your physical body in? How well do you take care of your physical body?
The condition of our physical body is affected by the food we eat, how much exercise we do, how much sleep we get and how we manage our stress.
Physical Activity and Fitness
Physical activity is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health. Regular physical activity has many health benefits and reduces the risk of many diseases.
Physical activity is any activity that involves moving our bodies, for example walking from the car into the shopping centre. Whereas, planned, structured and goal orientated movement is referred to as exercise.
We can all benefit from adding more physical activity to our day. We are flexible, strong and mobile when we engage in regular physical activity. This means we can enjoy leisure activities and safely perform work and home chores with ease.
Physical activity significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, depression, musculoskeletal problems, some cancers and unhealthy weight gain. It helps us maintain a healthy blood pressure, body weight and manage our stress. It is also a great way to be social and create meaningful relationships with others.
According to the most recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians, doing any physical activity is better than doing none. Be active on most, preferably all, days of the week. Include a combination of aerobic fitness, flexibility, and muscle strengthening exercises.
If you have been inactive, don’t be discouraged. Start by doing some, and gradually build up over time.
Find more information here.
Diet & Nutrition
Every time we eat is an opportunity to nourish our bodies.
Making healthy food choices and practicing mindful eating will provide our bodies with the proper combination of energy and nutrients.
Eating well lowers our risk for disease like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and certain cancers.
So what makes for a healthy diet? We’ve put together a few tips:
Moderate – Moderate how much food we eat. The quantity of food we eat can cause us to gain weight.
Adequate Nutrients – Our diet provides enough energy, nutrients and fibre to maintain health and essential body functions.
Balanced – Including a balanced combination of food from different food groups.
Varied – Eat a lot of different types of food each day.
Nutrient Rich –Eat nutrient rich food. Make each bite count and don’t waste it on food that doesn’t have any nutritional value.
It’s important to understand that the food we eat impacts every aspect of our being – physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual. What we eat affects how we feel about ourselves.
Find more information here
Sleep, we can’t live without it. So few of us pay any attention to the phenomenon of sleep. It is so integral to our health and wellbeing and here’s why.
Sleep serves two main biological purposes;
- It conserves the body’s energy. When we sleep our core body temperature and the rate at which we use energy decreases. This is why we have more energy to perform activities throughout our waking hours.
- It restores us both physically and mentally. During sleep the body has time to stop thinking about daily tasks, learning is synthesised and memories are consolidated. This allows us to prepare for the next day.
Sleep maintains our physical health. It has beneficial impacts on most body systems. That’s why when we don’t get a good night’s sleep we feel tired and sluggish during the day. We don’t run at our optimum. We also become more vulnerable to a variety of health problems.
Some of the many benefits:
- Helps maintain our immune system.
- Reduces the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
- Contributes to a healthy metabolism and body weight.
- Contributes to healthy neurological functioning.
- Improves motor tasks.
- Promotes psychosocial health.
When we take care of and manage our physical health we respond better to the demands of our daily life. We build healthy relationships with others because we feel healthy and confident about our physical appearance. We feel energised and excited about life. We show up to our daily activities with vitality and a positive attitude. We reduce the risk of developing many chronic illnesses and diseases. We are more likely to live longer, happier and healthier. It’s about learning to take care of all aspects of our physical health and actively maintaining a balance as our lives continues to shift and change.
Catch up on the rest of our Building a Healthy Lifestyle series here.