Cigna – Vitality is Life
Vitality is the ability to pursue life with health, strength, and energy. It is a driver and an outcome of health and work/life engagement, and Cigna believes it is not only essential to individuals, but is also a catalyst for business and community growth.* We know that “less than one in five U.S. adults have high levels of vitality, which jeopardizes their ability to engage and contribute, impacting families, communities, work, and more.”*
There are several dimensions of health which impact our vitality such as physical, spiritual, emotional, environmental, social, occupational, financial, and intellectual. As individuals are able to address these various dimensions, it creates space to advance relatedness, autonomy, and competence in our daily lives. Additionally, individuals with high vitality often have better health, engage in physical activity, and are more confident in managing medical conditions.*
For Jason Youngblood, running is a lifesource and continues to help him cultivate vitality in his life. Running allows Jason to enrich many key dimensions of vitality such as physical, emotional, environmental, and social.
When we think about creating more vitality in our life, it relates to the type of goals we set for ourselves; such as extrinsic versus intrinsic motivators. People are quick to set extrinsic goals for themselves which are focused on external reasons and are often contingent upon external approval and rewards from others. Extrinsic goals in the long run are not as sustainable and do not correlate with lifelong positive behavioral changes.
We know setting intrinsic goals fuels a person’s passions, interests, needs, and wants. These often help individuals create more relatedness and autonomy in their lives which is a key to high vitality. Relatedness is the feeling of being connected and supported. Autonomy is a sense of initiative and ownership in one’s actions. When we set intrinsic goals for ourselves we are more likely to remain commitment to the task at hand.
Jason’s love of running is driven by his intrinsic mindset, he is setting goals and is motivated by internal psychological needs. For example, running outside allows him to manage anxious thoughts, drives social connections with his running community, and creates daily opportunities for Jason to get outside to manage the hard dark winters in Baltimore.
Jason says, “No matter the distance, it is a way for me to set a goal for the right reason” and I am “very competitive against myself.”
Whether you are running a 5K or a marathon you can still reap the benefits of setting intrinsic goals. If running is not your passion, that is okay. The emphasis should be on movement; more importantly joyful movement. Joyful movement is a tenet of “Health at Every Size” and is an approach which focuses on enjoyable physical activity. So find ways in your day to cultivate joyful movement because “physical activity can improve your cognitive health—helping you think, learn, problem-solve, and enjoy an emotional balance.**
To learn more about Vitality: The Next Generation Measure of Health Click Here.
*The State of Vitality in the United States (cigna.com); **Physical Activity Boosts Brain Health | DNPAO | CDC
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