January 1, 2017

Inspiring Health: Let the ‘Wellness Wheel’ Be Your Guide to Better Health and Well-being

Larry Antonucci portrait

Larry Antonucci

For many, the New Year is a time for resolutions, new beginnings and a renewed commitment to healthy habits. Experience shows, however, that most resolutions fail to stick. This year, let Lee Health’s healthy lifestyle ‘wellness wheel’ be a tool to help you determine the areas in your life to focus on for physical, mental and emotional improvements.

The wellness wheel highlights the areas of our lives with the most significant impact on our overall health and well-being, including:

  • Purpose driven living – finding your “why”
  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Mental and behavioral health

wellness wheel

Finding your “why” helps you set a vision for your health and wellness, and more than just determining what you want life to look like, it helps you figure out how you want to feel. Do you want to focus on your health so you can lower your medications or avoid medications altogether? Or do you want to feel energized every day to keep up with your children or grandchildren? Whatever your reasons, build your routines and habits that support your vision.

Physical activity is vital to a healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise to improve overall cardiovascular health. We all have 24 hours, or 1,440 minutes, each day. Figure out the exercise routine and schedule that works for you and commit to making the time to move.

Nutrition is another key building block for a healthy lifestyle. Invest the time to plan balanced meals that include whole foods that deliver healthy levels of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

Make sleep a priority. Insufficient sleep may heighten the risk of injuries, depression, high blood pressure, obesity and other health concerns. Talk to your doctor if you are having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or falling back to sleep after waking.

Stress causes the release of cortisol from the adrenal gland, which is a hormone meant to help us cope with immediate stressors. If you cannot manage your stress, your body releases too much cortisol, which can become a chronic issue. Chronic stress can manifest in ways that can be detrimental to our health and mood, including weight fluctuations, sleep problems, muscle tension or pain, anxiety, hormone imbalance, anger or irritability, or restlessness. Incorporating stress management techniques into our routines helps us control our stress, but also provides rest and relaxation, which helps make lifestyle changes stick.

Mental and behavioral health is just as important as physical health, and untreated issues—like anxiety or depression—can impact your ability to participate in healthy habits like regular exercise and restful sleep. Just as anxiety or depression can hinder your ability to exercise, exercise can improve your mental and emotional health. If you experience disabling or excessive fears, anger, delusions or hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, feelings of extreme lows and highs, prolonged sadness or irritability, or other troubling symptoms, talk to your doctor and seek help from a medical professional.

As caring people, inspiring health, we hope you will use the wellness wheel as a reminder to create habits and routines to make 2018 healthy and happy all year long. Lee Health is here to support you with services and programs to help you reach your health and wellness goals.

Yours in Health,

Larry Antonucci signatureLarry Antonucci, M.D., MBA

President & CEO, Lee Health

Thank you for your support. Together we are Caring People. Inspiring Health.