What is Physical Health?
The Ultimate Guide to Physical Health
I find physical health to be very interesting. Mostly because the term health is often used interchangeably with physical health. When in reality, physical health only represents one element of an individual's total health. And solely focusing on physical health DOES NOT CONSTITUTE a wellness program or empower students to thrive. It is only a piece of the puzzle!
Okay, rant over. Let's explore Physical Health.
What is Physical Health?
Physical health represents one dimension of total well-being. The term refers to the state of your physical body and how well it's operating.
With my students, I break physical health down into four elements. I teach them that all four elements need to be focused on and strengthened. Here they are:
- Active Lifestyle - Being active throughout the day, not just when you’re working out.
- Healthy Diet - Eating and drinking a balanced diet to fuel your body.
- Hygiene and Disease Prevention - Keeping your body clean & free of disease by doing things like brushing your teeth, sleeping 8+ hours, and drinking lots of water.
- Physical Fitness - Intentionally strengthening your physical body by working out.
Add movement class with things like this Discovery Walk activity!
Physical Health and Its Impact on Total Health
As with each of the dimensions of health, it's important to highlight how they impact and affect the other elements of well-being (watch this video for more info). Here are a few examples of how physical health impacts the other dimensions of health:
- When you don’t sleep well or get enough hours of sleep, your ability to function at work deteriorates, thus influencing your occupational well-being.
- How I feel about my physical body great impacts my self-esteem and self-confidence, which can lead to low mental health.
- Your personal level of financial well-being impacts how much access you have to fitness equipment and to the quality of food you can buy.
How does your physical well-being impact your overall ability to thrive???
Physically Healthy Habits
I think that we can all agree that physical health is important, both for us and our students. As we work to build a high level of health in our lives and our students' lives, we actively build healthy habits. Here are some physically healthy habits that we all need in our lives:
- Eat a balanced diet + drink lots of water
- Sleep 8+ hours every night
- Live an active lifestyle and exercise daily
- Practice proper hygiene and disease prevention
Add movement class with things like this Amazing Race activity!
Physical Health and Your Classroom
You don't have to be a PE teacher to boost physical health in your class! Here are a few ways you can enhance students' physical well-being in any classroom:
- Add brain breaks to your lessons. Or better yet, add more recess to your day! Even if it's just five extra minutes.
- Get creative with your lessons and incorporate more movement with things like gallery walks, learning stations, and scavenger hunts.
- Jump on the flexible seating bandwagon. Seating options like standing desks or yoga balls are a great way to increase movement.
- Assign LESS homework. Yes, I said it. Give your students less out-of-class work so they have more unrestricted free time to play!
- Create a healthy snack policy. I'm happy to let kids eat in class as long as it's unprocessed and healthy.
- Encourage students to bring water bottles to school and only let kids drink water in class.
For health's sake...
Boosting physical health at school doesn't have to be hard! And the benefits are soooo incredibly important! If we want our kids to live thriving lives, I challenge you to make physical well-being a priority every day!
Free Intro to Health Unit Plans
We've got you covered! Get instant access to five free health lesson plans for in-person or digital instruction.
A middle school health teacher turned curriculum developer (and #WAHM). I'm on a mission to share the easiest-to-teach, most impactful health lesson plans on the Internet. Because your time and energy is better spent on teaching and connecting, not on planning and prep.