Jasmine Jafferali, MPH, ACE-CPT, is a fitness and wellness manager at a major health club in Chicago. She has a diverse fitness background having worked in corporate wellness and the commercial health club setting. Her practical experience in wellness programming gives her a distinctive opportunity to teach wellness to other fitness professionals. She also advocates bringing the fitness and medical community together through wellness and preventative programming. Jafferali specializes in women’s health and wellness, focusing on pre- and postnatal fitness, and is a Master Trainer for Healthy Moms® Fitness and Resist-a-ball®.

What is “wellness” per se? There are many definitions, and 20 years ago, wellness didn’t exist. But today, the industry is growing fast, and the term “wellness” is being overused, abused and it is not being used in its appropriate context. Wellness is achieving one’s full potential; it is self-directed and an ever-evolving process. Wellness has seven dimensions: occupational, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, environmental and physical. When all of these dimensions are met, then we are considered whole or complete. Wellness is more than just products to make us feel good or be physically fit.

Here is what each of the seven dimensions mean:

1. Social Wellness. This is how a person contributes to their environment and community and how he or she builds better living spaces and social networks. The social dimension encourages contributing to one’s environment and community.

2. Occupational Wellness. Occupational development is related to one’s attitude about one’s work, and recognizes personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work. The choice of profession, job satisfaction, career ambitions and personal performance are all important components of this dimension. To be occupationally well, a person is ultimately doing exactly with what they want to do in life and are comfortable with their future plans.

3. Spiritual Wellness. The spiritual dimension recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It does not mean one is religious, but that it is better to ponder the meaning of life and be tolerant of the beliefs of others than to close our minds and become intolerant. Spiritually well people take time out of their day for spiritual growth and learning. They have a clear sense of right and wrong, and they act accordingly.

4. Intellectual Wellness. This dimension recognizes one’s creative and stimulating mental activities as well as expands knowledge and skills while sharing his or her gifts with others. The intellectually well person is open to new ideas, thinks critically and seeks out new challenges. These people will stretch and challenge their minds with intellectual and creative pursuits instead of becoming self-satisfied and unproductive.

5. Emotional Wellness: Emotional Wellness. This dimension includes the capacity to manage one’s feelings and related behaviors, including the realistic assessment of one’s limitations, development of autonomy and the ability to cope effectively with stress. Emotionally well people have the ability to express feelings freely and manage feelings effectively. They are also aware of and accept a wide range of feelings in themselves and others.

6. Environmental Wellness. This includes the ability to promote health measures that improve the standard of living and quality of life in the community, including laws and agencies that safeguard the physical environment. The environmentally well person is aware of the earth’s natural resources, conserves energy, buys organic foods and products, and enjoys and appreciates spending time in natural settings.

7. Physical Wellness. This is what we all do well in our health clubs. It is met through the combination of good exercise and eating habits, taking precautions for self-care and receiving appropriate health screenings throughout our lives. It also means taking personal responsibility and care for minor illnesses and knowing when professional medical attention is needed. Physically well people understand and appreciate the relationship between sound nutrition and how their body performs. The physical benefits of looking good and feeling terrific most often lead to the psychological benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination and a sense of direction.

Integrating Wellness into Your Facility

What are you doing in your programming to promote wellness? First, you have to decide what will wellness mean in your facility. Does your facility have spa amenities, dietitians, offer corporate wellness programs, physical therapists/chiropractors or a recycling program? Wellness is more than just going to the gym to work out these days. It means getting a sports massage, attending a health seminar or seeking the expertise of a registered dietitian. It is helping the member to relieve stress and educate health through other means besides physical fitness.

It is predicted that the wellness industry will be the next trillion-dollar industry, and in the next 10 years, an additional $1 trillion dollars of the U.S economy will be focused on getting Americans healthy through programming and treating the whole person.

Americans are already spending more than $200 billion in the industry, including $150 billion per year in the nutrition industry (of which $19.8 billion are on supplements) and $24 billion for fitness clubs. The need for personal, customized care is growing because people are willing to spend the money to safeguard their youth and be well. It is time to shift our focus, get creative and develop wellness-based programs for our members.