February 23, 2017
As far back as I can recall, the importance of “play” has always been a cornerstone in my life. At a very young age, we encourage infants to play by exploring tummy time and crawling. As children grow up, we continue to promote play by teaching them how to ride a bike, helping them navigate playgrounds and signing them up for team sports. Once they have grown and left the nest, we hope they carry on and implement this idea of “play” into their everyday lives.
Everyone has the ability to play regardless of their age and capabilities. Adding the elements of active participation and fun back into your daily lives could be the key secret ingredient to being well. There are an abundance of resources available to you and the following ideas are examples that might jumpstart your and your loved ones’ passion for having fun and being well in this game of life.
Connecting Seven Dimensions of Wellness to Fitness
Physical: I often share in older adult wellness trainings that if “you do not use it, you will lose it.” Incorporating endurance, strength and flexibility practices are key and should be the bread and butter to your exercise routines. Activities from high intensity training (HIT) to mindful walking and yoga are all ways to maximize functionality in everyday life.
Intellectual: Awareness of cognitive decline is making the headlines more and more, and being mindful in all areas of your life is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Use this as an opportunity to get together with family and friends to play memory and trivia activities. Believe it or not, there is even a way to make bingo an active versus passive participation activity with a little creativity and the weaving in of interesting facts, news and trivia.
Environmental: Understanding the impact the environment has on well-being can be a way to engage all ages in indoor and outdoor environments that are playful, artistic and innovative in nature. Working with the environmental wonders in your own community, for example, just walking out your front door and playing with your kids in the neighborhood, can instantly create an adult playground that promotes the “effect” of active participation in existing public areas and provides opportunities for all ages encouraging intergenerational wellness.
Social: Staying connected and socially engaged is a key factor in combating health issues from mood disorders like depression to stress-related chronic conditions like heart disease. Expressing gratitude can be one important tool to use to strengthen relationships and can even make us feel closer and more connected to friends and family.
Spiritual: Spirituality related to religion can be very personal; however, utilizing self-worth, meaning, love and relatedness activities can bond your friends and family. Incorporating relaxation and stress management practices could help identify sources of stress and healthier ways to live by. Consider yoga and meditation as ways to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
Occupational: Not everyone wants to be defined by their job title, and living with purpose and feeling self-worth should be a lifelong commitment. Gaining personal satisfaction and finding enrichment in one’s life through work can mean learning new skills as well as maintaining full functionality (joint stability, flexibility, energy conservation) in order to enjoy the activities of daily living.
Emotional: Declining health and mobility can cause significant insecurity, general unease or nervousness within one’s self. As promoted by Aegis’ own WALK! with Aegis Therapies event, the theme to keep in mind for emotional health is to “stay positive, connect with others and stay active.” We encourage you to express your feelings and emotions by writing notes to friends and loved ones.
Tracey Harvey, National Program Director Wellness Services, EnerG® by Aegis Therapies a nationally recognized leader in contract rehabilitation and wellness services, with more than 7,500 therapists and clinicians providing proven therapy services in over 1,400 facilities across 42 states. Harvey, has three+ decades of experience in the Fitness/Wellness/Retirement Living Industry and champions evidence-based programs across the nation in order to increase overall results using aspects of innovative business development tactics to drive quality, consistency and successful outcomes.