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“Americans spend an average of $9 billion annually on vitamins and supplements. They tout the merits of exercise equipment the way they once talked about automobiles. They make more than 60 million visits to complementary health care practitioners annually and have turned this kind of health care into a $14 billion business.” (McCullough, VA. Consumer’s Guide to Alternative Health Care). There is no doubt about it: Americans are into wellness.

What is a wellness program? It is simply a series of activities and attitudes that improve your physical and mental health. These two aspects work together and help each other to contribute to total wellness. Some of the aspects of wellness include: nutrition, safety, sleep, posture, chiropractic adjustments, aerobic exercise, strength training, stretching, attitude, and spirituality. A wellness program consists of improvement in all of these areas. Wellness is important because it reduces your overall stress, improves QUALITY of life and shows responsibility for your overall health. Wellness programs can be fun.

The rewards of a wellness program are
· Reduction of stress
· Boost in intellectual stimulation
· Enhance spiritual fulfillment
· Improve job satisfaction
· More rewarding social and family life
· Enjoy a safer environment

Here are some tips for beginning a wellness program:
· Begin exercising aerobically at least three times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes.
· Change your diet to eat more grains, fruits and vegetables. Substantially reduce your intake of sugars and fats to maximum of 30% of your total calories.
· Drink at least 8-8oz glasses of water every day.
· Recognize how much sleep you require to feel good and make an effort to get that amount.
· Consider safety precautions such as not smoking, wearing your seat belt and using sunscreen daily.
· Think positively about your life and work. Take breaks from stress by relaxing, exercising or meditating.
· Add strength-building exercises into your wellness program at least two times per week.
· Build in time before and after exercising for stretching. It keeps your muscles limber.

It takes approximately 8 weeks to form a new habit, so start gradually and don’t get discouraged. You can make incremental changes in your lifestyle over time. Small changes will add up to big increases in your quality of life over time. If you have no idea where to begin or have any health concerns discuss them with your doctor. It is important to talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program. He or she will help you get started on the right foot.