The World Health Organisation defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.
From birth our lifestyle is governed by our parents, they dictate what we eat until such time as a determined toddler decides otherwise. They will decide on our levels of exercise and generally will influence whether our surroundings are conducive to a happy, peaceful and healthy upbringing. It is not until much later that a person can start to make their own choices regarding their diet, exercise and general wellbeing.
A healthy lifestyle constitutes many levels of wellness and is a conscious decision by an individual to undertake positive life changes. For the body to remain healthy there must be harmony of the mind, body and spirit and if any of these elements are out of sync, this can lead to dis-ease often resulting in negative outcomes for the body.
When we think of health and wellness, these are generally influenced by three models of thinking comprising of The Medical Model, The Environmental Model and the Holistic Model.
The Medical Model most often than not focuses on the specifics of treating an illness, an injury or a medical complaint and is usually alongside the intervention of drugs or surgery. This model rarely focuses on the body as a whole and tends to treat the symptoms as opposed to searching for the cause. It is this model that is widely adopted by the recognised medical professionals and they will determine wellness as the absence of disease, discomfort or disability.
The Environmental Model as the name suggests relates to the external influences which have the potential of having a detrimental effect on somebody’s physical or mental health. This can encompass outside pressures resulting in stress as well as the external factors of pollution, toxins and environmental risks in general. This is a very traditional model of health and one which comprises of the harmonious existence alongside animal, plant life and our surroundings. Adverse effects to ones surroundings and environmental influences would determine the health or wellness within this model.
Finally there is The Holistic Model and is likely the most preferable when determining wellness as it incorporates the whole person and includes their surroundings and environment. The Holistic Model would certainly focus on creating harmony in body, mind and spirit utilising diet, exercise, mind balance and positive affirmation to attain wellness.
In pursuance of a healthy lifestyle, a person must make a conscious decision to embrace change as in many cases adopting this lifestyle will necessitate the need for change and commitment. It is a learning process to determine what an individuals’ body requires in terms of maintaining balance, health and wellness. The individual will most likely seek initial advice from a number of different resources, a Health & Wellness coach being just one of many.
A healthy diet is a fundamental requirement for overall wellness, it should be balanced and embrace all of the essential nutrients required for the body to remain in optimum shape. Good nutrition nourishes the body and mind as well as helps create resistance to disease and illness. As the saying goes “We are what we eat” and therefore it is important that our bodies are fed fresh, natural foods in order to maintain good health.
Exercise is another vital requirement for sustaining wellness within the body. The advantages of adopting an exercise regime is that it can easily be incorporated into everyday activities and undertaken by both able bodied and disabled men, women and children. The list of exercise choices is endless thus making it easy to adopt a preferred regime. Ideally exercise should consist of a combination of cardiovascular and muscle strengthening activities.
Whether it be trying to adopt a healthy diet or effective exercise regime it is important that the mind-set is positive and focused, therefore paying attention to our thoughts and feelings is also a huge factor when embracing wellness.
With the implementation of a plan which takes into account ones diet, exercise, environmental factors and mind management a person can generally see all round benefits and potentially live longer, happier and more fulfilling lives.