How to Start a Personal Wellness Program

By Martin Booe ; Updated January 09, 2018

Recognizing that healthy employees are more productive, many companies offer wellness programs to help their workers achieve common health or fitness goals. Smoking cessation, nutritional counseling and fitness sessions during working hours are just some of the things on offer in the way of formal wellness programs.

If you feel that remodeling your lifestyle will unleash a store of hidden energy, why not create your own personalized wellness program? A few considerations can help you get started.

Get a Physical

It has become somewhat fashionable to dismiss the importance of physicals, since the release a 2012 Cochrane Review of clinical trials involving more than 180,000 people determined they had no effect on mortality or patient health.

However, there are many compelling reasons to get a check-up, especially if you're low on stamina. A physical might reveal problems that all the exercise and vegetables in the world won't correct (and some that it will). Thyroid problems, diabetes and other conditions may require medical attention to overcome. If you've been sedentary for a long time, your doctor can also give you clearance for the vigorous exercise that will propel you to luminosity.

Renovate Your Diet

Whether or not you need to lose weight, superb nutrition is a must for any good wellness program. Try keeping a food diary for a week or so and identify areas of concern. Too much pasta or fried food? Not enough vegetables? Compare your dietary intake to the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Small changes to your diet can yield big results. According to the journal Circulation, drinking just 1 or 2 cans of sugary soda a day raises your risk of diabetes by 26 percent.

If you do need to lose weight, slow and steady wins the race. One to 2 pounds a week is a healthy rate of weight loss, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Recommendations for Safe Weight Loss. To lose a pound, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume. You can do that in a week simply by cutting out two or three slices of bread and taking a brisk daily walk for 45 minutes.

Add in Exercise

How much exercise should you get? For good health, a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or high-intensity activity for 75 minutes. If you're really pressed for time, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can burn more fat in 20 minutes than 50 minutes of full-throttled activity. It's a way of training that involves alternating short bursts of extreme efforts with longer intervals of taking it easy.

Resistance training with weights will lower cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity and increase bone density and muscle mass, the latter of which bestows you with a higher resting metabolism and overall better stamina.

Include Meditation

You can be in perfect physical condition, but if your emotional and mental weather report is chronically stormy and threatening, what's the point? While positive physical activity will certainly boost endorphins, so will clearing your mind and copping a more positive attitude.

Mindfulness meditation is easy to learn and the payoffs are enormous in reduced anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

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