3 Ways to Celebrate National Wellness Month

August is National Wellness Month. This is a time to promote overall wellness in all areas: body, mind and spirit. Prepare a series of activities to run all month long with your family or students. Create a custom routine with exercises that target these three key areas. Or, come up with a series of practices to make part of your daily lifestyle. Here are 3 suggestions that cover the three areas of overall wellness: body, mind and spirit.

Body

The most basic thing you can do for your body to stay healthy is to drink water. Not many of us drink enough water a day to stay well. Water helps maintain balance and makes sure all bodily functions are working properly. It keeps your skin looking nice and the kidneys functioning.

The amount of water a person should have a day varies. It's recommended that adult men should get around 13 cups a day, while women should aim for 9 cups. For children between 4 and 8 years old, they should be having 5 cups of water a day. Between the ages of 9 and 13, they should be having 7 to 8 cups. And between the ages of 14 and 18, children should be having between 8 to 11 cups of water per day.

For the month of August, challenge your kids, students and yourself to meet this recommended amount of water consumption. Try it for 31 days straight and see if you notice a difference with your body health. If you're not a fan of water, there are a few tricks you can do to spice it up. Add fruit to a pitcher of water. Any combination will do, but cucumber and mint are a classic. If you prefer your carbonated beverages, try adding a few bubbles to plain water. If you need a hit of more flavor, add a few drops of your favorite sugar-free drink mix.

Mind

The mind gets tired, just like your muscles. Stress is a major opponent to someone's overall health. Not only does it affect your mind, but it can also show signs on your body. To relieve stress and clear the mind, consider a deep breathing or meditation routine.

Stress can cause someone to take short, shallow breaths, or even to hold it without realizing. Breathing, like water, is a key component to staying healthy. Breathing allows oxygen to enter the body. Oxygen is then sent to the blood and organs, including the brain. Help maintain good breathing practices and relieve stress with a deep breathing routine. Start by sitting straight and still. Take a long deep breath in for 3 seconds. Then, let it out slowly for 5 seconds. Do this for 1 minute a few times during the day.

You can take this deep breathing exercise even further by incorporating it into a meditation routine. For this, sit cross-legged on a pillow on the floor. Sit up straight and rest your hands on your knees. Close your eyes and start your deep breathing technique. As you breathe, release your concentration and let your mind clear. Allow thoughts to drift in and out of your mind. Try not to focus on any particular thing.

Spirit

Your spirit is an extension of your mind. It connects mind and body. Sleep is an important aspect of overall health. The way to get good sleep is with a balanced spirit. Consider completing a series of exercises right before bed. You should do this for 10 minutes before laying down, and definitely have no digital devices afterward.

Start off with some good stretching exercises. Some of these stretches can even be done on the bed itself. Sit tall. Inhale while you lift your arms. Exhale as you wrap your arms around you in a hug. Hold this stretch while you breathe deeply for 30 seconds. Inhale to open your arms back up. Exhale as you bring your arms around you again, this time with the opposite arm on top. Repeat the exercise. For the next exercise you will sit tall once more. Using your hand, place it over your head to the opposite ear. Gently pull towards your elbow so your ear comes to your shoulder. Hold this for a few deep breaths. Repeat on the other side. Facing forward, turn your head to look over your shoulder. Hold for a few deep breaths, then repeat on the opposite side. Drop your chin down and hold for a few breaths. Then, look upward and hold for a few breaths more.

You can take these simple stretches and combine them with a few yoga exercises. A great one is called Child's Pose. For this one, come down on your knees and sit back on your heels. Spread your knees outward, keeping your feet touching. Let your upper body come forward toward the ground. Extend your arms and let your forehead rest on the ground. Hold this position for several minutes, breathing deeply throughout.

What's Next?

You can learn more about how the body works with our Human Body series. You can also learn more about personal health with our Daily Health & Hygiene Skills lesson plan.

Check out our August 6, 2018 blog post for some more great fitness ideas.