The Wellness Factor
I despise the gym. Oops! Did I say that out loud? I know that sounds sacrilegious coming from someone who works at a fitness facility, but it’s true. Maybe it’s because I was brought up to see fitness from a different view than the current trend, maybe it’s because it reminds me a little too much of gym class in middle school, maybe I just don’t like to exercise inside… Most of what we hear about fitness now–a-days is about how to look better, about losing weight, about pushing ourselves beyond our limits. But I think that one important side of fitness is being forgotten-WELLNESS!
Wellness has to do with having a balance of health in the body, mind and spirit. Each aspect on its own is important, but bringing them together is what creates a balanced and fulfilling life. My mom has a unique outlook on wellness that she has passed down to me and one of the first lessons I remember learning was about taking care of myself. When I was young I was encouraged to take days off from school not only when I was physically sick, but when I was over-stressed. It’s a lesson that I still carry with me today but honestly, when I was growing up I thought many of her ideas were kind of weird but she was never discouraged by me telling her that!
Now, however, I tend to agree with her. Wellness is a forgotten aspect of health in many gyms around the country. Fitness is so focused on the body and how we feel physically and how we look that I get frustrated with gyms, and forego them all together! I believe that there is so much more to being a healthy individual! An article that I read recently talks a little bit about how to be an empowered person. How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body by Sarah Koppelkam (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-koppelkam/body image_b_3678534.html) is an article that discusses ways to talk to your daughter about her body without causing her to feel self-conscious about it. This passage in particular spoke to me.
“Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.”
This passage captures the essence of wellness for me. Wellness is less about fitness and more about quality of life! Activities including meditation and yoga are just as valuable as running and weight training since they include benefits such as lowering blood sugar, increasing attention span, helping with insomnia, improving energy levels, protection from injury and much more! We have an activity here at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center that I think is a great alternative to the traditional work out! The DeepWater Volleyball class is a wonderful social event for many of the participants of the class! They get to see friends and play a fun game while swimming and stretching. I feel like it’s the best of all worlds!
Wellness is about finding the right balance between health in the body, mind and spirit for you, and it’s different for everyone. It includes fitness, intellectual stimulation, social interaction, introspection, the whole shebang! All that is needed to create a happy life!
By Alyssa Bingham
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