Fitness is so important after 50, especially now that we’re all trending to spending more time at home. But it’s also helpful to remember the other elements of wellness, too. We might have to put a little more energy into maintaining our overall wellbeing nowadays. But trust us: There’s nothing more important.
Let’s review the main components of wellbeing. Then we’ll share some tips on what you can do for them.
What Is Wellness?
There are many definitions, all generally meaning the same thing. We like this from one from the University of California:
“Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) writes
“People often think about wellness in terms of physical health — nutrition, exercise, weight management, etc., but it is so much more. Wellness is a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, fueling the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit.”
Most experts list six to eight categories. Feel free to adapt the list as necessary but remember to keep it as broad and robust as your life. Here’s the breakdown provided by the International Council on Active Aging:
- Physical – Exercise and nutrition are essential to maintaining independence and health. Period.
- Emotional – “coping with challenges and behaving in trustworthy and respectful ways.”
- Intellectual/Cognitive – “engaging in creative pursuits and intellectually stimulating activities.”
- Professional/Vocational – using your “skills while providing personal satisfaction,” including as mentors, volunteers, caregivers and more in retirement.
- Social – “interactions with family, friends, neighbors and chosen peer groups.”
- Spiritual – “living with a meaning and purpose in life, guided by personal values.”
- Environmental – practicing habits that promote a healthy environment; understanding how different environments affect you.
Some Simple Tips to increase Wellness in Your Life
- Move More / Sit Less. Every little thing you can do adds up. So put on some fun music and dance… stand up and walk around during TV commercials… work in your garden, put away the dishes, and fold the laundry. Go for a walk, jog or bike ride outdoors.
- Volunteer online or over the phone. Call local charitable organizations, community centers and community volunteer organization to see how you can help.
- Express yourself. Write in a journal, paint, play music or sing. Talk about your feelings with family, friends, or counsellor. Don’t be shy about calling people.
- Limit the time you watch the news or look at social media. It’s responsible to stay informed, but once or twice a day should do it. More than that can lead to being overwhelmed.
- Try meditating each day. Schedule the time and treat it like an important appointment.
- Keep a clean, orderly home.
- Read books. Talk about them in a live or online book club or with family and friends.
- Research for your next trip, or plan something to look forward to.
- Gratitude. Try to be thankful, tolerant and patient with yourself and others.
- Support your Immune system with good nutrtion, sleep and exercise habits. Recent research shows the potential of whole body vibration to reduce inflammation and provide positive vascular effects (Jawed et al 2020), making it even more relevant in today’s times.