As a personal trainer and Kinesiologist, I have spent a lot of time talking to people about health and fitness. In the majority of these conversations, individuals focus primarily on their physical health (mostly involving nutrition, exercise, sleep and how they’re body seems to be “behaving” or “acting” for them).
However, we are so much more than our physical health…..there are a variety of other “health areas” or elements that inter-relate with our physical health.
These elements are much like the spokes in a bicycle wheel…..and if one spoke is weak or diminished, the entire wheel doesn’t work as well. It will be weak, wobbly and the bike’s performance will obviously be negatively affected. Certainly, being “strong” in all areas of health or in all your wheel’s spokes can be a difficult and tricky balance to achieve. However, the “struggle” is well worth it, because every improvement – however small – we make in any area of our health (or “spoke in our wheel”) is an investment in ourselves and the life we each live.
Often, the first step to making improvements in anything, is first building an awareness of what is “weak,” or “challenged” or what needs to be changed.
In this post, I ask you to consider the Spokes in your Wheel…..
Physical – as mentioned above, this spoke encompasses your physical fitness (strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness), how and what you eat, your sleep quality and also how you manage physical risk factors for disease, such as cholesterol, blood glucose, your blood pressure, body weight and other parameters.
Emotional – this spoke involves a huge variety of elements….the impact of your mental health state can greatly affect not only your physical health, but EVERY other spoke in your wheel. Being emotionally healthy can involve how you relate to yourself (do you talk down to yourself, beat yourself up or do you love, support and forgive yourself for your faults and shortcomings?) Are you open and honest about your feelings or do you tend to bottle things up inside and ignore them? How do you handle the stresses in your life? How do you accept and deal with “negative” emotions like anger, guilt or resentment?
Spiritual – do you believe in the presence of a Higher Power acting in your life? Do you pray or worship? Do you consider your relationship to the Universe and your purpose or presence within it? It is well-documented in research that people with strong spiritual connection are healthier and more able to deal with life’s challenges. Do you spend time outdoors or in nature?
Intellectual – how do you think and solve problems? How do you process information? Are you constantly learning and growing in your knowledge? Are you willing to take on learning new skills or advancing your knowledge of an area with which you are unfamiliar?
Occupational – we all need money to live. We all spend a certain amount of our time (sometimes too much) working to earn money to live our lives. What is the relationship of your work to your level of life satisfaction? Is your work interesting or fulfilling in some way for you? It has been said that a job is nothing more than something we DON’T want to do to get money for the things we DO want to do….or is your Work somehow connected to what you are passionate about?
Social – how are your relationships with others? Family, friends, children, co-workers and other people in your world. What do you do to maintain those relationships and ensure they are healthy? How often do you tell the people in your life “I love you?” How many face-to-face encounters do you have daily? In this age of social media, there can be negative shifts in how we interact socially.
Environmental – with this spoke, you need to consider how you take care of the planet. Do you regularly practice some form of environmentalism? Do you reduce/re-use/recycle? What is your consumption of fossil fuels? How does the way you live (your consumption of resources such as electricity, plastic, paper, etc.) along with your waste production, water usage and other items impact our planet? We tend to live in a consumer-based society that is bent on just getting more “stuff.”
If reading this post stirs in you any questions about the spokes in your wheel, then “mission accomplished!” You are already on your way to making an improvement in your life.
Take that next step – Go for a walk or workout, say “I love you” to someone, be honest with yourself, use less water….the list goes on…..
Whatever it is….commit to strengthening the spokes in your wheel.
Life will be better – guaranteed – when you do!
This post was written by thriveFitness