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Living an Optimal Life

Health Benefits of a Wellness Plan

Giovanna N. Mason written September 12, 2011 (modified 3/4/2023)

Bachelor of Health and Wellness course presentation

When you eat better and get the nutrients your body needs, it shows on the outside. When you have a cardiovascular program that is moderate to vigorous like mine your resting heart rate is low, and you recover faster and breathe better during any type of physical activity.

When people are in better health they can work and take care of their families and less money going out for medical bills.

We also know that having a wellness plan in place that is relatively fun and easy to follow will also make us less stressful which in turn alleviates headaches, gut issues and other ailments that come from stress.

I used to be in Finance but got to a point where I was not happy, and it showed in my appearance even though I was still extremely active in the gym, I was fighting to keep my energy up.

I got into being a trainer from a co-worker asking me to train them, after seeing me go through my bodybuilding transformation. This gave me a sense of purpose and joy, I continued doing personal training part-time, along with being a massage therapist. This life style allows me to live a balanced way of living my most optimal life. We all need to find our balance of work, physical activity, family life and nutritional harmony.

I work out according to my work schedule. I train where I vary my intensity so as not to overtrain or undertrain my body and it keeps me motivated. My session are kept about 1.5 hrs max which includes a warm up and a cool down and sometimes cardio. If you are in the gym any longer you could be doing your body more harm than good because you would have used up your glycogen (ATP) stores and begin to burn muscle for energy! This will give you the "skinny fat" syndrome which is unhealthy.

The type of exercises I do are based upon building lean muscle, sometimes I do switch to endurance so my repetitions will be higher. It depends upon my goals at that given time. My cardiovascular training is done pretty much the same but I only do it 3x a week, for I am not trying to lose any weight. My in gym cardio sessions are about 20-30 min at a vigorous intensity. I use the S.M.A.R.T acronym to help me reach that goal: This was a goal back in 2011 :-)

Specific- I will increase my flexibility within the next 8 weeks.

Measurable: Get my knees, individually to get closer to my chest.

Acceptable (or Attainable : this is a acceptable goal because it is something that I need to do for my wellness plan.

Realistic: Our hip joints are able to make circles like our shoulder joints, so stretching will increase my range of motion. I may not get to the splits but knee to chest is something I can do!

Time: by setting aside 15-20 minutes of specific flexibility exercises again utilizing the FITT principles, at least 3x per week this goal is workable.

The FITT for setting up a plan of action:

F- Frequency pertains to how often you should be exposed to physical activity. Two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week is recommended. (Hoeger, 2010, pg.210).

I- Intensity pertains to how you train yourself or push yourself based upon your bodies threshold. The formula used to determine your intensity levels is based upon your age resting heart rate and heart rate reserve to establish a maximum training heart rate. This is then used to calculate, light intensity, moderate intensity and vigorous intensity training zones.

T- Type or mode is the “exercise that develops the CR system” (cardiorespiratory system)which must be aerobic. My aerobic activity includes running, biking, and jump rope and indoors is the stair climber. Each involve my major muscle groups and are rhythmic and continuous in movement.

T- Time or duration the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states:” it is recommended that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week”

Muscular strength/resistance training- because it involves the use of the skeletal system benefits the prevention of osteoporosis, alleviates arthritis pain, and encourages weight loss and maintenance which in turn prevents obesity. This type of training can involve free weights, machines, isometric movements (muscle contraction) and also the use of resistance bands and a plethora of other types of equipment. All of which build muscle and allow the body to do its day to day activities, helps improve balance and “promotes psychological well-being.”

Core strength training- this is the foundation for all training, without a strong core exercise movements can be done incorrectly. The core keeps the body upright in posture, stabilizes your body while sitting and prevents low back pain and injury. One convenient way to train the core is with a stability ball because it makes the exerciser have to balance therefore not only working on the core but also other small muscles of the legs and feet.

Resistance bands- These are used for rehabilitation from injury and are also great for those just starting off in the workout world and also for those that want to work out at home but don’t have the space for equipment. Also great for travel for those that doesn’t want to miss a workout!

Flexibility- A must in every wellness program. Stretching like core work can improve your posture, your gait (walking), and allows better circulation of bodily fluids through the body. Flexibility is the process of lengthening muscle and increasing ROM. For the average person static stretching is the easiest to do because no one else has to be involved and unless you are and avid athlete or participate in a sport this is a good place to start.

The following physical activity programs work best for me: strength and cardiovascular training at a high intensity, core strength training for obtaining better movement in my exercise, polymeric training to help for when I do my running events, and all the different modes of stretching exercises. As a massage therapist I am always on my feet, but sometimes they don’t move much so ballistic stretching is good for my legs while dynamic stretching is good for my upper body between clients. And for me passive stretching is a treat who wouldn’t want someone to stretch them☺. The greatest benefit of stretching, is if you don’t stretch you can build your muscle incorrectly which can also contribute to poor posture and possible injuries or muscular imbalances due to limited range of motion.

“Impaired flexibility stemming from either congenital factors, inactivity or poor training habits can limit the amount of force you can apply in may sport-related and training-related settings” (pg.88) It is for this reason I need be sure to make stretching a part of my wellness plan! tioncouncil.html Fact sheet: Investing in Prevention.

Health benefits of Brazil nuts

Hoeger, W. & Hoeger, S. (2012). Principals & Labs for fitness and Wellness (11th ed.) Cengage Learning.

Packer, L. Ph.D. & Colman. C. The Antioxidant Miracle.(1990). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Publishers (p.142-3).

Turnock, Bernard.(2007). Essentials of Public Health. Jones & Bartlett Publishers (p. 43).

Hatfield, Ph.D. (2000). Fitness: The Complete Guide. ISSA.

For additional information regarding balance in your life click on the link below:

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