When you think of being healthy, what’s typically the first thing that comes to mind? Being fit? Skinny? Being able to share on Facebook from your running app that you just finished eight miles? In the last several years, the focus on what “being healthy” is started to finally shift, and technology has really helped propel that forward.
Thankfully, there’s a drive for wellness over fitness, as that really is the larger umbrella. But what is “wellness?” According to Google, wellness is defined as “the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health.”
In order to be truly healthy, we need to have more than just our physique in order. And, as fitness professionals, being health ourselves is an important example we can set for our members.
In my own life, I’m seeking a holistic approach to health as opposed to just being “fit.” But what does that mean? That’s taking care of all your health: your stress levels, getting enough sleep, keeping up with your nutrition and exercising. Technology is now more than ever a big player in this effort of achieving overall wellness.
As leaders and fitness professionals, below are some important areas to ensure your focus on so that you’re at optimal “wellness” and setting a good example.
Being aware of your mental state is so important. But being able to address your mental health and take the steps to keep you where you need to be is critical. For example, how are you handling your stress? We all have it: work, family or health issues, financial issues, the list is never ending. Are you making an effort to address it through meditation? Do you choose to workout to blow some steam? Or do you push off your activity until later, sleeping in instead? Being aware of your breathing is important: do you tend to hold your breath when you’re stressed out?
Nowadays there are apps for everything, and this area is no exception. Every day you can use an app such as HeadSpace or Muse to guide you in 10-minute meditations. You can do that in the morning or several times throughout the day. Additionally, sometimes you actually do need to sleep in in the mornings when you’re over-tired. Listening to your body and staying in tune with it is key.
In this industry we know that what you fuel your body with determines how you can perform. But it also affects your mental health, how you sleep, and so much more. Apps such as Lifesum can help track your food intake and exercise, hydration, etc. giving you a larger picture of what you’re feeding your body and outputting calorie-wise. It can help you not only make better choices when you see what you’re actually eating, but can also encourage you to stay on track.
Many of us exercise regularly as is — we’re in the fitness industry after all. But in taking care of how we handle the stress of the work day or home life, it’s important to incorporate movement more than just our regular workouts. What do I mean? I mean using your watch or a reminders app to remind you to pause what you’re doing, get up, and walk around every two hours or so, taking a few minutes to breathe, stretch, and just move.
Technology is a vital tool for helping us manage our health, especially in this fast paced day and age when we hardly have time to eat when we get in the zone and have to meet deadlines. Wearable devices such as Spire IO and the Bellabeat Leaf are just two other options of the dozens out there. For more information on wearables and the options out there and how to integrate them into your life, check out Josh Trent from Wellness Force.
Bottom line, it’s easy to have the mindset of focusing too much on looking fit and on appearances rather than overall wellness. Take into account all your needs: mental, nutrition-wise and physically. Some day you should get out of bed to exercise, other days your body will tell you it needs to sleep. Metrics like your breathing, medication you need, mindfulness and overall nutrition rations are more important than simply looking good. It is critical to have all points firing to achieve wellness.
Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter @LindseyRainH2O or check out her website www.linseyrainh2o.com.