What does it mean to be Physically Well?

When people define what Wellness means to them, physical health is often the main focus of their description. If looking only at a person’s outward physical disposition and energy to evaluate their wellness, it can be easy to overlook the other dimensions, such as the Environmental, Spiritual and Occupational dimensions described in recent

#WellnessWednesday blog posts. The idea that Wellness is based solely on how fit your body is a misconception; to be truly well, physical wellness must be balanced in harmony with the other 7 dimensions (Emotional, Intellectual, Financial, Social, and the three mentioned above) as well.

While a simple statement in words, finding balance can be more complicated in practice, though certainly not impossible. The goal of this post will be to help you set certain checks and balances into your pursuit of Physical wellness that will support balanced maintenance of some of the most forgotten other 7 dimensions:

1. Try something completely different at least once a month

Intellectual

Even when you have an exercise routine you love that keeps you motivated and on track to meet your goals, it is still possible to become burned out after months of doing the same thing due to lack of intellectual stimulation.

Wait-- exercise is intellectual???

Yes! Whenever you try something new, your brain has to try a little harder to figure out what’s going on. Overcoming the initial challenge or discomfort of trying something new or outside your comfort zone is what allows you to nourish your intellectual vitality.

Suggestion in practice: try out one of the many FREE Group Fitness classes offered at Fike to take a break from day after day on the treadmill or at the squat rack! They’re great for all ability levels and a ton of fun. My personal recommendation for really switching it up from a typical workout would be one of the aerobic dance-based classes like ‘Werk it’.

2. Take advantage of free outdoor exercise opportunities

Environmental/financial/spiritual

As Clemson students, we are uniquely lucky to have a beach on campus and mountains a short drive away, both of which offer a ton of free or low cost opportunities to get outside, exercise, and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday student life to connect with nature and self-reflect.

Suggestion in practice: CORE, the Clemson outdoor rec program, offers free daily kayak rentals from the office at Snow Beach (formerly known as Y Beach), and other low cost equipment rentals to support a rejuvenating outdoor weekend adventure. The South Carolina Botanical gardens are also conveniently located in Clemson (across the street from Lightsey Bridge) and offer an easy and free way to enjoy nature and be active.

3. Allow yourself to be human

Emotional

No one is perfect, and it’s important to remember this when trying to stick to any kind of regimented plan or routine. If your plan for enhancing your physical wellness involves a two-mile jog and stretching everyday, but one day you find you’re still exhausted from running the days before, it’s okay to give yourself a break to recover-- even if you use your break for something less than productive, like watching Netflix.

Suggestion in practice: Even if you miss several workouts because other things came up, or you lost motivation, it’s important to forgive yourself so that you can jump back on the wellness wagon and keep moving forward. Remember that tomorrow is a new day, so set a new objective and stick to it, letting yesterday go.

4. Do it with friends

Social

Suggestion in practice: Join a Club Sport or an IM (intramural) team to get connected with other people who have similar athletic interests as you, or recruit your friends to join one with you to help your friends be active as well. Even if you don’t consider yourself classically athletic, there is definitely something for you, with dozens of club sport offerings and niche IM tournaments happening throughout the year. Battleship tournament anyone?

5. Create a schedule that works with your job/being a student

Occupational

College students tend to be incredibly busy people, with extracurricular and academic commitments often listed as a top excuse for missing out on exercise and healthy food. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Scheduling in time to be active and eat well can actually improve your productivity in school or at work, as you’ll feel better, think clearer and likely get everything else done faster, making it even easier to find time for activity in the long run!

Suggestion in practice: Draft a template of your standard weekly schedule, and identify an hour each day that you don’t have anything scheduled, ideally after class and before you eat and study. Pencil this hour in as your “active time”, and avoid making any other plans or commitments during this time. Treat it as a mandatory meeting with the gym, forest, pool, or yoga mat!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to any of the Wellness Ambassadors at our Drop-in hours!

Resources:

Group Fitness/IM/Club Sports Sign-up:

http://www.imleagues.com/spa/intramural/3544ec74b64a4fc2ae5e3e008c380f87/home

Waterfall hikes near Clemson:

http://visitclemson.com/attractions/waterfalls/