Wellness Goes Deeper than Fitness


North Dakota State’s Wellness Center is not just about physical health.

The health and fitness hotspot on campus promotes the Seven Dimensions of Wellness, a health promotion that wellness education coordinator Emily Hegg said helps students learning about “their own health and wellbeing.”

The seven dimensions include physical wellness but also other aspects of intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational and environmental wellbeing, Hegg said, all of which can interrelate with each other.

“They’re not segmented … They really play off each other,” she said. “You have to take a holistic approach to it which is what we try to do.”

The Seven Dimensions of Wellness are not a balancing act, Hegg added, which “is really impossible”; however, each aspect of wellness can fluctuate in one’s life and fulfillment is really the key to it all.

“As you go through life, different experiences, different opportunities … your different aspects of wellness will ebb and flow,” Hegg said. “So they do fluctuate as you grow and change as an individual.”

Some aspects of wellness Hegg said could use some clarification, such as intellectual wellbeing, which more concerns curiosity and engagement than smartness.

Spiritual wellness, meanwhile, is often leveled as religious in nature, Hegg said, but that’s just one component of spirituality.

“It’s more about your values, your ethics, your core,” she said. “Now is the time that you can really grow and develop your own spiritual wellness. … Now is the time. You’re on your own, you’re gaining your independence, you can really start to understand ‘what is really valuable to me? What am I passionate about?”

Hegg added the Wellness Center works with the counseling center on campus to assist students in their mental well-being, which can extend from personal issues to concentration.

The Seven Dimensions of Wellness has existed since the early 1980s in health promotion, Hegg said. NDSU has promoted the concept since at least the time of Wellness Center’s completion in 2001, she added.

Emotional, spiritual and physical health are three aspects that can greatly affect one’s mental health, as tasks, commitments and other demands in life can be “a little overwhelming,” Hegg said, adding that research shows physical wellbeing can directly affect mental health as a workout can boost chemicals in the brain, making one feel better.

Hegg added a quote she recounted about the effect of working out.

“‘I really hated that workout. I felt terrible afterward,’ said no one ever, or something like that,” she said, “because really when you get done working out … you feel better than you did at the beginning.”


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