PHYSICAL & MENTAL WELLNESS
Taking A Holistic Approach To Wellness
Physical and mental health wellness should be seen as one in the same. If you're falling short in one area, it will likely have a residual impact on the other. I want to help you understand how wellness impacts your daily functioning, as well as the short- and long-term repercussions this can have on your global health.
Below is some helpful information and guidelines that you can refer to to make sure you're staying on track. I am here to help and support you on your path to wellness. Let's work together to help you put your best foot forward, each and every day.
Understanding Training Domains & Exercise Intensity
The function of the cardiovascular system (i.e., the heart, lungs, circulatory systems) is to deliver oxygen to the working muscle and to remove waste products associated with energy production (i.e., carbon dioxide). Cardiovascular training results in several positive adaptations including increased cardiac output (i.e., stroke volume) as well as reductions in heart rate when completing a given physical task (and while resting). Adaptations are also seen within the capillary networks that support the delivery of oxygen to and removal of carbon dioxide from the working muscle. It is well founded in the literature that our aerobic capacity decreases as we age.
Strength training, also known as resistance training, is necessary to elicit adaptations to muscular strength, power and endurance. It also has important implications on bone growth and development, especially in youth and females. Facilitating the development and maintenance of lean muscle mass is also associated with an increased resting metabolic rate; this means your body is using more energy at rest compared to someone who has less muscle. Regular participation in a resistance training program is associated with reduced sport-injury risk, and improvements to motor skills and sport performance.
FLEXIBILITY & BALANCE
Flexibility is a measure of an individual's range of motion (ROM) in relation to a specific joint and it's associated musculature. Flexibility training should be specific to a given activity or exercise; setting a training priority to maximize flexibility without purpose and context is unwarranted. Despite training, factors related to ROM that remain fixed include: anatomical joint structure, age and sex. Flexibility training can help to maximize force production generated from the working muscle. For individuals starting a physical activity program for the first time, stretching is a great introduction because of it's low-intensity, low-impact properties.
Balance is a measure of an individual's ability to maintain their centre of gravity over their base of support. Individuals with poor balance are at greater risk for lower body injuries compared to adequately trained individuals. Maintaining adequate balance skills and stability becomes increasingly important as we age.
MEASURING EXERCISE INTENSITY
There are a number of ways that we can measure the intensity of a given task, physical activity, or exercise session including: heart rate, rate of perceived exertion (i.e., subjective judgment based on fatigue), time to muscle failure, as well as metabolic equivalents (METs). METs are useful because they describe the absolute intensity of a given exercise. Below are some common activities to help you understand the METs scale. METs <3.0 - Very Light/Light (such as: walking [2.0], standing and performing light work [2.0], playing a musical instrument [2.5]); METs 3.0-5.9 - Moderate (such as: cleaning chores [3.0], mowing the lawn [5.5], dancing [4.0], golf [4.3]); METs > 6.0 - Vigourous (such as: jogging at 5mph pace [8.0], shovelling snow [7.0], competitive soccer [10.0]).
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY RECOMMENDATIONS
These standards are in alignment with CSEP Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines
Children & Adolescents : 60 minutes daily of moderate to vigourous aerobic activity. Vigourous activities should be incorporated at least 3x/week.
Adults: 150 minutes weekly of moderate to vigourous aerobic activity; bouts of activity lasting 10 minutes or more is advised.
Children & Adolescents: Muscle and bone strengthening activities 3x/week.
Adults: Muscle and bone strengthening activities 2x/week.
FLEXIBILITY & BALANCE
Seniors: Individuals with declining mobility should incorporate daily balance activities to help decrease risk for falls.
WHY IS MENTAL HEALTH IMPORTANT?
Maintaining our mental health allows us to better cope with the ups and downs of life (i.e., our stressors). Optimal mental health also allows us to achieve performance expectations in a workplace or educational environment. It also allows us to maintain a balance between the other domains of our health (i.e., physical, emotional, spiritual).
HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY MENTAL HEALTH?
A large body of literature suggests that physical activity is one of the simplest ways to maintain and promote positive mental health. Meditation, introspective self-reflection, psychotherapy, and pharmaceutical intervention are among a long list of options available to individuals looking to improve their mental health.
HOW CAN I HELP END THE STIGMA?
By speaking openly to others about our lived experiences, we stand united in our fight. Lead by example and take a non-judgemental approach when encouraging friends and loved ones to seek help.
WHEN SHOULD I SEEK HELP?
When your troubles linger for a prolonged period of time and begin to affect your daily functioning (i.e., chores and responsibilities, work and/or school performance) and thought processes, it may be time to seek help.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES & CRISIS SUPPORT
If you are experiencing a crisis, go to your nearest hospital emergency room or call 911.
There is help. You are not alone.