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Wellness as our virtue

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The most important requirement for good health is a healthy attitude, by which we mean a positive outlook; a willingness to accept personal responsibility for life’s ups and downs, and a confidence in one’s ability to take control of modifiable situations.{{more}}

There is no doubt that the interest and participation in health promotion and wellness activities has expanded greatly in the past two decades.

The signs are clear, the wellness revolution, especially in terms of diet and exercise, has been affected by both scientific findings and cultural changes. Therefore, healthy living has to be holistic, with an equal concern for each dimension: physical, emotional, occupational, environmental, spiritual, social and intellectual.

What does one mean by staying healthy? There are basically two main categories of health: physical health and mental health. The best methods to stay healthy incorporate basically a balance health on both the physical and mental scale.

Accompanying the rapidly progressing education revolution there should be an equal impetus towards the recognition of wellness as a virtue, and a general drive towards achieving good health, since fundamental to a productive society is a healthy people, and thus physical, mental and emotional health must be maximized. The youth of our nation constitute the largest and ablest sector of our national population; therefore, if we are to secure a future characterized by efficiency, it is primary that our youth product must simply be healthier.

Significant media attention has recently been focused on the communicable diseases such HIV/AIDS, while a persistent ominous threat to wellness and health is present by the silent and growing monsters, namely Diabetes Mellitus, also known as ‘sugar’, Hypertension or ‘pressure’ and obesity, which is a growing epidemic touching our shores through the westernization of our diet and the shift from a predominantly farming society.

What can we do as a people to minimize the negative impact brought on by these conditions?

There is no doubt that with the recent upsurge in media coverage and the now available rapid HIV testing nationwide, and increased awareness of the transmission of the disease and risks associated with the disease, that hopefully we could see a reduction in the devastating consequences. With early detection and a decrease in stigmatisation

and possible early treatment if required, as well as prevention of transmission with safe sex practices and abstinence advocated we could be seeing positive results soon.

A similar fight must be maintained against other sicknesses and diseases. What then is the role of a balanced diet? The importance of a balanced diet and exercise cannot be overemphasized. With Christmas around the corner, we must resist the temptation to eat an extra piece of the salty ham, the deep fried food, and the cakes and sweets which would be in abundance. Moderation in all we do is important. The volume of black wine and other alcoholic beverages must be controlled and not consumed with the aim of trying to finish the national stock, or relentlessly trying to ensure intoxication. The decrease in the use of carbonated beverages is another important change which can be made.

Encouraging our children to eat fruits instead of the common sweets purchased would not only be cost cutting if we now invest in a fruit tree in our backyard, but would also be healthier in the long run. Foods rich in omega fatty acids have also been reported to be beneficial. Physical wellness refers to those aspects of health related directly to the body. Physical wellness means that you can get through the day with enough energy for work and play. It is the aspect of wellness that often first comes to mind when people think of wellness. What have you done this week to promote your physical wellness?

We have been blessed as a nation with open green spaces in most communities, in the form of playing fields and beaches which are perfect for that long overdue early morning run. We must incorporate physical exercise in our family’s weekly timetable.

Instead of spending our time on evenings looking at the television, we can now go to the playing field with our families for the purpose of obtaining exercise, while at the same time, take the time to teach our children that exercise should be a part of their daily lives. This will offer the opportunity for social interaction and the building of community spirit.

With the renovation of multiple playing fields and sporting facilities nationwide, this allows for the increase in organized sporting activities for our children. This would not only teach them essential values of working as a team and understanding the reasons of regulations governing sport, but fosters physical fitness in a rather pleasant form. Football, netball and cricket in the different districts continue to dominate as the preferred sports in our country and we must ensure that this interest is not taken away by electronic gadgets.

In addition to our diet and exercise, we must incorporate our visits to our general practitioners as regular parts of our to-do list, since they can inform us of possible interventions which we can make to control diseases before they become too complicated.

Wellness is a choice of lifestyle marked by a balance of mind, body, and spirit. I wish us as a nation all the best in our quest to attain greater degrees of physical wellness as we continue to strive for excellence. God Bless us all with good health.

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