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Physical Wellness is our ability to care for our bodies by: attaining and properly balancing good nutrition, self-medication, relaxation, sleep and physical activity or exercise to encourage the necessary healing, growth, muscular and cardio-vascular fitness desired to achieve optimal health. It also includes one’s discipline to sustain a good schedule of physical activity; self-control to avoid activities that are scientifically proven to be harmful to our health such as over-eating and over-drinking; and avoidance of the unhealthy results of smoking, drugs, unsafe sex, and long hours exposed to the harmful radiation of the sun or harmful chemicals without adequate protection.
Benefits of Physical Wellness
The benefits of physical activity are strengthened bones and muscles, reduced risk of disease and stroke, and more energy. When we exercise our body naturally releases powerful endorphins which boosts our mood and reduces stress and thus helps our emotional wellness. As we become ‘fit’, we also become more attractive which in turn increases our self-esteem, which is good for our mental wellness.
(Muscle strength and energy is a crucial part of any caregiver’s resource.) However, repetitive strains and aches can result if we do not warm-up and stretch in proper balance to the demands of the job.
The benefits of a well-balanced diet which provides the necessary variety of nutrients and vitamins to our body is reduced risk of disease and stroke and more healing.
The benefits of sleep and relaxation are less stress, more healing, a more balanced mind and clear-thinking ability which is good for both our mental and emotional wellness.
The benefits of discipline in maintaining our fitness schedule means we achieve greater flexibility, muscle strength, increased physical endurance and muscle explosive power. As well as the practice of discipline itself, which can be applied to any area of your life, once mastered.
The benefits of self-control in over eating or drinking means less obesity, cholesterol or heart conditions.
The benefits of avoiding toxic chemicals, STD’s and radiation mean there is less chance to develop lung cancer, other cancers and diseases. As a result, we enjoy a better immune system meaning we have more energy and can work for longer without becoming exhausted.
Ways to Increase Your Physical Wellness:
- Engage in physical activity every day, such as lifting weights, cycling, stretching, running, some kind of sport or dance, for at least 30 minutes. You may break up your daily 30 minutes into 10 minutes bouts. You might find that mornings before work are best for you. You may choose to exercise before mealtimes to increase the chances of weight loss, or you may leave exercise to late at night.
- If your time to exercise is reduced, you could choose to use the stairs at work instead of the elevator or escalator and walk whenever possible instead of taking a taxi or train.
- Keep a constant monitor on your vital signs and warning signs that you may be unfit.
- Eat an enjoyable variety of healthy foods and drink and limit your meal portions. Be aware that your body needs more greens and less carbohydrates to maintain its peak condition. Use sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a good sleep schedule where you allow your body to rest for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Practice safe sex.
- Follow the law when traveling by using seat belts or helmets, for your own benefit and others. Encourage others to follow your good example.
- Do not engage in unsafe practices when traveling such as distracting behavior, music, mobile phone time, or consuming alcoholic beverages or drugs when driving a vehicle.
- Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Avoid undue amounts of time exposed to the sun without protection or other harmful chemicals.
- Maintain a hygienic home and work environment to reduce the risk of illness.
Pay attention to vital signs:
- Body temperature using a thermometer (97.8 – 99 degrees celcius)
- Pulse rate is the number of times the heart beats per minute (60 – 100 beats per minute is average for an adult. Some athletes have 40 beats per minute in resting position). You can count this by placing two fingers on the insider of your wrist.
- Respiration rate is the number of times someone breaths per minute (12 – 18 breaths per minute is average for an adult).
- Blood pressure which can be calculated by a tight monitor around your arm (normal blood pressure is 90-120 systolic/60-80 diastolic)
- Check your BMI
Pay attention to warning signs:
- Recurring pain in joints, muscles, or elsewhere in the body
- High Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Difficulty breathing
- Unexplained exhaustion
- Poor eating habits (refusing to eat, eating too much, binging and purging)
- Poor skin or nail conditions
- Inability to fight off minor infections, or repeatedly getting ill
We have seen that physical wellness quickly impacts on emotional and mental wellness and by treating one type of wellness, we are also treating another type of wellness. Look after your body and it will look after you!
Holistic Health for Caregivers
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