As you may know, UNC Student Wellness is partnering with Campus Health Services, Campus Recreation, and the School of Nursing on the inaugural Tar Heel Wellness Challenge. The Tar Heel Wellness Challenge provides holistic health goals for UNC students, post-docs, staff and faculty to reach every two weeks. To learn more about this new initiative please click on the YouTube video below:
The current challenge (from January 27th– February 9th) is all about the physical dimension of wellness, particularly about being physically active. Before we go any further you may be wondering: “What is the physical dimension of wellness?” Great question! Let’s define this term before we go any further.
The physical dimension of wellness involves the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows you to get through your daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. While the focus of the current challenge is centered on being physically active, it is important to note that physical wellness means many things and incorporates a lot of different behaviors. It includes the adoption of healthful habits (such as getting routine medical exams/immunizations, eating a balanced diet, engaging in daily movement, etc.) as well as the avoidance of destructive habits (such as tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.). It is also important to note that in the coming months challenges will focus on other aspects of physical wellness such as nutrition and safety. Now that we are all on the same page, let’s continue.
Being physically active is an important component of maintaining physical wellness. Research shows that physical activity has numerous health benefits such as preventing several chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis) and premature death (Warburton et al, 2006). Further research demonstrates that physical activity can improve one’s mental health by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2005).Moreover, physical activity promotes many psychological and emotional benefits as well such as boosting one’s confidence, distracting one from negative thoughts, increasing social interaction, and providing a healthy coping mechanism (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2005).
For the next two weeks our challenge as follows:
Get your free wellness screening at the Functional Movement and Fitness Center located in the Student Rec Center, and try at least one new exercise over the next two weeks.
After reading the challenge you might not be excited about the term ‘exercise’. Some literature suggests that some people dislike the term ‘exercise’ because of negative past memories (Government of Alberta, 2014). We don’t want unpleasant recollections to prevent you from participating in our challenge and reaping all the excellent benefits of physical activity, so we offer a different way of thinking about it: simply move more. There are many ways to increase your daily movement, and moving more might look differently for different people. We invite you to be creative and enhance your activity in a way that feels right to you. Below is a list of ideas to get you brainstorming activities that might work for you.
- Take a walk with a friend between classes
- Take a Group Fitness Class at the Student Recreation Center or Rams Head
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk to class instead of taking the bus
- Have a YouTube Dance Party with First Lady Obama (Watch this to see what we mean!)
What are some ways you like to move more? Post a picture, video, or comment showing your participation in our current challenge with #THWC on the Tar Heel Wellness Challenge Facebook page for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Student Stores from the Tar Heel Wellness Challenge.
Also, check out the Tar Heel Wellness Challenge Facebook page for a schedule of upcoming challenges.
Government of Alberta (2014). Physical Activity Versus Exercise. Retrieved January 26, 2014 from http://www.healthyalberta.com/609.htm
Mayo Clinic Staff (2005). Exercise eases symptoms of anxiety and depression. Retrieved January 21, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495
Warburton, D. E., Nicol, C. W., & Bredin, S. S. (2006). Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. Canadian medical association journal, 174(6), 801-809.