Part of the new statewide COLORADO AIDS Project
Part of the new statewide COLORADO AIDS PROJECT
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Wellness

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Wellness

Research shows individual wellness is based on good physical, and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise and habits.

Exercise

The benefits of physical activity (see below) are well-established, and emerging studies continue to support an important role for habitual exercise in maintaining overall health and well-being. Persuasive epidemiological and laboratory evidence shows that regular exercise protects against the development and progression of many chronic diseases and is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. Recent studies correlating changes in physical activity have supported the hypotheses that regular activity increases longevity. The public health benefits of increasing physical activity with the general population are potentially enormous due to both the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles and the impact of activity on disease risk. Furthermore, data in recent years suggest that the threshold necessary for the health benefits of exercise, such as significantly lowering chronic disease risk, is lower than previously thought. There is a clear inverse relationship between activity and mortality risk across activity categories, and the risk profile indicates that some exercise is better than none, and more exercise--up to a point--is better than less. Thus, public health efforts should be directed toward getting more people more active more of the time rather than elevating everyone to an arbitrary fitness or activity level.

The benefits of physical activity are well-established, and emerging studies continue to support an important role for habitual exercise in maintaining overall health and well-being. Persuasive epidemiological and laboratory evidence shows that regular exercise protects against the development and progression of many chronic diseases and is an important component of a healthy lifestyle.

Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these mental health benefits.

According to the Center for Disease Control "Science shows that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers. This is remarkable in two ways:

Everyone can gain the health benefits of physical activity - age, ethnicity, shape or size do not matter.

Nutrition

HIV and nutrition are intimately linked. The HIV infection can lead to malnutrition, while poor diet can in turn speed the disease's progress. Good nutrition and access to food have s food supplies, nutritional supplements and items demonstrated a positive impact on health.

HIV medical nutritionist Susan Kopins notes "Poor nutrition has the greatest impact on client health, but it is the cheapest to fix."

Nutritional interventions (assessment and counseling) along with access to food help improve quality of life and reduce costly medical care for persons living with HIV/AIDS. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services "nutritional status is strongly predictive of survival and functional status among people living with HIV/AIDS."

S-CAP's food pantry program provides the necessary support to help persons living with HIV/AIDS subsist and retain a quality of life. Moreover, the nutritional education programs and counseling services offer clients the skills they need to be healthier and more self-sufficient toward meeting their evolving nutritional needs.

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Mental and Emotional Health

Mental health problems can strike anybody, but people with HIV are more likely to experience a range of mental health issues. Most common are feelings of acute emotional distress, depression, and anxiety, which can often accompany adverse life-events. HIV also can directly infect the brain, causing impairment to memory and thinking. In addition, some anti-HIV drugs can have mental health side effects.

Emotional Distress

Receiving an HIV diagnosis can produce strong emotional reactions. Initial feelings of shock and denial can turn to fear, guilt, anger, sadness, and a sense of hopelessness. Some people even have suicidal thoughts. It is understandable that one might feel helpless and fear illness, disability, and even death.

Support from family and friends can be very helpful at these times, as can professional help. If you are feeling emotionally distressed, it is important that you talk about your feelings.

Remember that any strong and lasting emotional reaction to an HIV diagnosis calls for some kind of assistance, and that there is always help available.

Coping tips:

Updated on January 28, 2013