Many people associate exercise with physical sports and activities that make the heart rate go up and that may make you breath heavy and sweat. This kind of exercise is good for the body and mind. Depending on your individual needs and abilities, and other factors such as your age and overall physical activity, “physical” exercise should be done for a minimum amount of time per day or week but it is not the only kind of exercise that may affect your overall well-being.
Holistic fitness includes physical fitness but it is more than just making sure a person’s physical body is fit. Holistic fitness is just as concerned with a person’s emotional, mental, and spiritual fitness or well-being.
Depending on a person’s age and abilities, each day they should get a minimum amount of exercise and physical activity in. For some people this will be a rigorous and lengthy workout that leaves them drenched in sweat at the end, for others it may be as low impact as chair Yoga, but everyone should get some sort of exercise in each day. Being a healthy weight and being strong are important parts of physical fitness.
A person’s emotional fitness has to do with their ability to emotionally cope with what comes their way. This often includes people seeking out various forms of talk therapy; being able to be mindful and self-reflective; allowing oneself to feel deeply without letting negative feelings overwhelm and negatively impact other aspects of their lives such as their work and personal relationships; do work and activities that help to deal with stress and anxiety, such as meditation, yoga, get massages, eat healthy and get plenty of exercise, etc. Everyone should try to be emotionally fit and different people will be successful in doing this in different ways.
Just like our bodies, our minds and mental capacity age too. As we get older, our minds are not as strong and agile as they once were. It is important to exercise your mind to get it into better shape and help it to stay that way. Even when people are not afflicted with illnesses that often affect the minds of older people such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is important to keep the neurons in the brain firing by doing tasks that involve thinking and/or learning new things such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, brain teasers and now there are new brain training apps and software that people can utilize, to name just a few of the many ways to keep you mentally fit.
While many people seek spiritual fitness by going to church, synagogue, mosque, or by participating in some other sort of religious or spiritual community, spiritual fitness is more than being in communion with others in your community. Spiritual fitness is the understanding the interconnectedness of all things in the world and where you fit into it, and how you can be a better person and live at your optimal spiritual fitness. Many people find it helpful to practice meditation, prayer and/or mindfulness, to help their overall spiritual well-being. There are many different holistic exercises to help your overall holistic health and fitness. The following are just a few of the common practices that people find helpful to their holistic health and fitness:
- Qi Gong
- Tai Chi
When trying to achieve optimal health, it is important to focus on all aspects of your health, not just your physical health.