Wellness programs use a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. My style, as a Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist, is to address all components of a healthy lifestyle, rather than simply maintaining a healthy weight, moving your body and getting your stress level down to a manageable level.
Wellness Programs Typically Focus on Weight Loss
Most people’s interest in wellness programs is sparked by a desire to lose weight. They have cycled through enough diets to realize that they don’t lead to sustainable healthy lifestyles or to permanent weight loss. Fad diets don’t promote wellness at all, but focus on unhealthy short-term techniques that cause immediate water weight loss. These immediate results delude dieters into thinking that they’ve successfully reduced their weight. But at some point, the constant calorie deprivation becomes unbearable, and they scuttle their latest diet. By contrast, wellness programs take a slow and steady approach, but they create behavior change and result in long-lasting results.
While weight loss is important, in order to maintain good health, you also have to move your body on a regular basis throughout the day.
Exercise is a Critical Component of a Wellness Program
Once your wellness coach has you on a program that is whittling off the excess pounds, it’s time to add exercise to your healthy habits. Today most of us are sedentary because they have office jobs and are convinced that we don’t have time to exercise.
The Centers for Disease Control has set minimum exercise guidelines for the general public. They recommend engaging in moderate physical activity for a minimum of 150 minutes a week, which translates to 30 minutes a day five times per week. The other equally important component of a wellness program is strength training at least twice a week that works all major muscle groups.
This is a tall order for most Americans. A recent survey revealed that only 20% of Americans meet these wellness program guidelines for exercise. I advocate exer-snacks, short bursts of brisk walking sprinkled throughout the day, as a realistic way to incorporate exercise into your jam-packed schedule.
A study profiled in the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter should give you added incentive to start moving your body more.
Exercise May Cut Your Risk of 13 Types of Cancer
A recent National Cancer Institute study of 1.44 million adults showed a link between greater activity and significantly lower odds of developing 13 types of cancer, including three of the most common—breast, colon and lung cancer.
“Minimizing your risk of many types of cancer, including several of the most common, yet again gives us all a great reason to strive to obtain the weekly recommendation for moderate-to-vigorous activity,” says Jennifer M. Sacheck, PhD, an associate professor in Tufts’ Friedman School who specializes in studying physical activity. “Importantly, these effects were found to be independent of several key dietary factors.”
Esophageal cancer, one of the most deadly, showed the most pronounced drop—42%. Greater levels of physical activity were associated with a 10% lower risk for breast cancer, 16% for colon cancer, and 26% for lung cancer. Other cancers that were also less likely among those exercising more included leukemia, myeloma and cancers of the liver, kidney, stomach, endometrium, rectum, bladder, and head/neck.
The connection between excess weight and cancer was clear in the study, but the news was positive even for those who have a hard time losing weight: Overweight and obese participants who exercised were much less likely to develop most cancers than their sedentary peers.
And don’t forget to say “Om.”
Click here to read the article on why exercise is an important component of wellness programs.