Physical Wellness

What is Physical Wellness

Wellness in the physical dimension includes the ability and determination to care for one’s physical health, safety, and quality of life by ensuring good nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest/sleep, effective hygiene, avoiding harmful habits, responsible decision making, adequate self-care, and seeking medical assistance when warranted. This includes the ability to recognize when we are not physically well and take appropriate actions, as well as the understanding of how behaviour relates to maintaining optimum physical wellness.

Physical Activity at Home

Below are some home physical activity exercise resources provided by both university and non-university parties!

Physical wellness includes, but is not limited to

  • Regular exercise

  • Nutritious diet/plenty of water
  • Maintaining healthy sleeping routines
  • Maintaining personal hygiene
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Avoiding harmful habits/substances
  • Avoiding unnecessary injury
  • Recognizing and responding to illness and disease
  • Regular physical checkups
  • Utilizing safe modes of transportation

Tips on Managing Physical Wellness

  1. Recognize the signs of when you are sick: most of the time, symptoms arise when you get sick or catch a bug. Symptoms can include fevers or chills, green/yellow nasal discharge, a scratchy throat, headaches, coughing, and sneezing (USC). Don’t ignore symptoms! Catching them early can help you plan for what happens next: going to the doctor, taking bed rest and medicine, eating gentle food, getting extensions on deadlines, or taking a sick leave so that you can stay at home and prevent spreading anything to other people. Health Services on campus offers various services, including a student medical clinic (with the option to get a verification of illness form), a family health clinic, and a travel clinic.
  2. Participate in physical activity: physical exercise is structured, planned, and repetitive (usually at a gym or sporting facility). Physical activity in day-to-day life can be activities such as walking or biking to work/school, doing household chores such as cleaning and cooking, or doing physically demanding jobs (mechanics, physical therapists, food preparation). The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity. The University of Waterloo has a gym membership program that is available for free if you are an enrolled student or for staff and faculty members on a term-by-term plan.
  3. Eating well: This means eating well balanced meals at regular times every day (and no, eating instant ramen or box macaroni every day is not sustainable). The university offers nutrition services with a health services referral, which is an appointment with the university's registered dietitian. The registered dietitian provides individual counselling for those who have nutrition or food-related health concerns, including disordered eating, chronic conditions, special diets, allergies and intolerances, deficiencies, and healthy weights. WUSA also offers a confidential and free food support service, aimed to help members of the University of Waterloo community who may be facing food insecurity by providing food hampers.
  4. Routine self-care: getting adequate sleep at night and maintaining hygiene (both personal and environmental) routinely are imperative to physical wellness. Adequate sleep (undisturbed, >7 hours a night) supports good cognitive function throughout the day (memory, concentration) and good mental wellbeing (MDPI). Maintaining hygiene helps reduce the likeliness of being infected with communicable diseases, and consequently, contributes to good mental wellbeing; poor hygiene is linked to symptoms of a reduced mental health state, such as anxiety and depression (Elsevier).
  5. Practice safe habits: obeying rules (such as traffic signs, work procedures), avoiding excessive substance use (smoking, drinking), wearing appropriate clothing for weather conditions, and using protection when participating in sexual activity are all ways to keep yourself safe from harm's way. If you must do something that may put you at risk, practice safety by wearing the appropriate gear and making sure any equipment you are using is functioning properly (such as seatbelts, goggles, helmets, and harnesses).