Fitness, or exercise, can often be a frightening word when faced with chronic or life-limiting illness. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, exercise includes aerobic activities that increase the heart rate and circulation such as running, dancing, walking, hiking, and swimming. Yet fitness also refers to a state of wellbeing that can be achieved with movement, proper nutrition, and adequate rest. Fitness is physical, but also includes the intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual domains.
Intellectual, or brain fitness, helps keep the mind active and alert, and reduces the risk of cognitive decline associated with ailments such as dementia. Social fitness can be achieved by building and maintaining healthy social connections with others, such as those in your wellness circle of support. Emotional fitness includes building healthy habits and exercises that improve your mental health and wellbeing. Spiritual fitness refers to one’s overall spiritual health and how one is able to cope with and enjoy life, even in the face of illness. This is probably the most important domain as it contributes to beliefs and the ability to make change. However, one of the most challenging domains when faced with illness is physical fitness.
What fitness area do you see that needs the most nurturing? What steps can you take to strengthen this area? What do you need to commit to change? Please contact me if you need assistance in this area. Fitness is a broad area, but very important to optimal wellness.