Wellness: A strong foundation

Every year we hear about thousands of homes washed away during floods, hurricanes
and typhoons. Especially in the world’s impoverished regions, many washouts
occur because houses have either no foundations or inadequate ones, thus they
are easily swept away. Houses built on strong foundations, however, withstand
these events better. Owners may incur less damage as a result — less reason
to grieve, more reason to hope.

We can use the above as a metaphor for our lives. As a society, if we built
stronger foundations in our personal lives, we would see fewer addictions, suicides
and divorces, as well as less crime. Again, less reason to grieve, more reason
to hope.

When we adopt wellness, we build a formidable foundation that can withstand
the strongest storms. We all benefit from a way of living that is more holistic — one
that provides opportunities to enhance the intellect, enjoy new experiences,
interact with people, and reinforce a sense of purpose and belonging. This kind
of environment enriches and rejuvenates people of all ages.

But what is wellness? Wellness is an umbrella term for the environment and
the things that we do to support an active lifestyle. A six dimensional approach
to wellness — which focuses physical, social, emotional, intellectual, vocational
and spiritual health — can help change the way we age.

How can you build wellness into your life? Here are some examples:

Emotional health means managing and directing your feelings,
coping with challenges, and behaving in trustworthy and respectful ways. Things
you can do to improve your emotional health include: stress management, humor/laughter,
and writing or talking about your personal history.

Intellectual health means engaging in creative pursuits and
intellectually stimulating activities, as well as problem solving and reasoning.
Things you can do to improve your intellectual/cognitive health include: brain
fitness classes and workshops, cultural activities, arts and crafts, journaling,
games/puzzles, and reading.

Physical health means choosing lifestyle habits that maintain
or improve your health and functional ability. Things you can do to enhance
your physical health include: exercise, proper nutrition, sports, sleep, self-care,
and not using alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Vocational health means maintaining or improving your skills,
abilities and attitudes that help you or others stay productive and satisfied
with the work you do. Things you can do to enhance your professional/vocational
health: paid work, volunteer work, skills classes, mentoring, tutoring, hobbies,
and caregiving.

Social health means interacting with others for mutual benefit,
as well as awareness of the larger community and participation within it. Things
you can do to improve your social health include: club(s), volunteering, dancing,
visiting friends and family, group and intergenerational activities, and group

Spiritual health means living with a meaning/purpose in life,
and exploring beliefs and values that create personal peace and understanding.
Things you can do to enhance your spiritual health include: group and/or individual
faith-based activities, personal meditation/reflection, mindful exercise (yoga,
tai chi), and experiencing nature.

These are only a few of the options that build a strong wellness foundation.
This approach to life offers us many ways to pursue health, helping us age with
the renewed vitality, strength and resilience to withstand the storms of life.

Colin Milner, CEO

International Council on Active Aging®

[email protected]

Colin Milner, chief executive officer of the International Council on Active
Aging®, is one of the nation’s foremost visionaries and original thinkers
regarding the health and well-being of the older adult. Milner has served as
an advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Administration
on Aging, the National Institute on Aging, the Canadian Special Senate Committee
on Aging, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Committee, B.C. Ministry of Health: Supporting
activity for frail elderly in assisted living initiative and the National Blueprint
on Aging. Milner was also invited to write a Vision Paper for the 2006 White
House Conference on Aging.

* Article provided by Can-Fit-Pro

Be sure to catch Colin and other amazing presenters at the Can-Fit-Pro International
Fitness and Club Business Conference and Trade Show in Toronto for incredible
seminars and workshops on a variety of topics including nutrition, wellness,
yoga, and more! Visit www.canfitpro.com
for more details!

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/Diego Cervo