The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete, physical mental and social well being and not merely an absence of illness. In other words absence of illness does not mean good health. You may feel listless, fatigued and unwell and yet a medical test may show no illness. You feel unwell but medical test shows that you are well. What could be the reason?
Health is a state of having consistent energy, emotional and spiritual balance, mental clarity, resistance to stress, freedom from infection, having a healthy balance between career and family and – an absence of illness. That is good health.
The human body is interconnected – the mind, the spirit and the body. Three of them must be healthy for you to experience optimum health. When any part of the body is sick, it affects the other areas of your life. Care must be taken to make sure that they all are healthy.Certain things affect your health, but let’s first look at the 2 major things that positively or negatively impact your quest for good health:
1. Your genes
2.Your lifestyle – include behavior and the food you eat. Your gene is not your choice to make but your lifestyle is your choice.Your health depends on the combination of your genes and accumulation of healthy and unhealthy behaviors you select.
The other things that have a negative or positive impact on your health are
- Quantity and quality of exercise – Exercise has to be done consistently for it to have any positive impact on your health. Jogging and neglecting strength training is not very beneficial. You will miss out on the benefits of strength training. A good exercise plan must include the different exercises: aerobic and strength training including warm up and stretching.
- Quantity and quality of sleep and leisure – An adult needs 5 – 8 hours of good sleep every night. Good sleep is important because you might sleep but when the environment is noisy, the mattress lumpy, and your partner is snoring, the quality of sleep is reduced. You may get up in the morning with a headache or have the feeling of needing more sleep
- Intake of drugs – Recreational drugs can lead to dependence and addiction. This is detrimental to your health and could lead to psychological and social problems
- Your diet – This also plays a major role in your health. It is not just eating food. You have to eat the right food and in the right quantity. No matter how healthy your diet is, if you eat till you are stuffed, it defeats the purpose of healthy eating. This includes the abuse of alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages.
Most health problems are preventable. You may be healthy today and suddenly unhealthy the next day. This does not just happen. By the time you have symptoms and feel bad enough to see a Doctor, your body has been struggling for a long time to take care of you. The reason you feel symptoms like headache, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath and sometimes outright collapse is because your body can no longer cope with your lifestyle.
When it comes to health, the right diet, exercise and frame of mind increases your quality of life while, the wrong diet, a lifestyle devoid of physical activity and a negative frame of mind reduces your quality of life.
Instead of making resolutions every year to change your lifestyle, take inventory of the things that reduces your quality of life and let go of them.
|Good Habits||Bad habits|
|Exercise||Lack of exercise|
|Right nutrition||Abuse of alcohol|
|Adequate sleep and rest||Not getting enough sleep and rest|
|Healthy relationship||Abusive relationship|
|Opportunity for emotional and creative expression||Lack of opportunity for emotional and creative expression|
|Healthy work – life balance||Unhealthy work – life balance|
|Substance abuse, Smoking|
According to the WHO, there are just 5 factors for the onset of chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are diseases that lasts for 3 months or longer. They include; hypertension, stroke, heart disease, asthma, Type I and Type 2 Diabetes etc.
These factors for the onset of chronic diseases are :
- Physical inactivity
- Poor diet
When you look at these 5 factors, only 2 are outside your control: age and heredity. You cannot chose who your parents will be or stop yourself from getting older, although your life style can determine how you age. The other 3: physical inactivity, poor diet and smoking are preventable factors. You and you alone are able to prevent them. Living a healthy life is a choice you have to make.
Whatever your physical condition, your medical information or family medical history, you can still decide now, what you want your health to be. Think of where your health is right now and where you want it to be. Think of where you will be in a couple of years if you do not do anything positive about your health. A life that depends on medication for survival puts a lot of stress on that which it is meant to protect.
Ask yourself the following questions;
- 3 years from today what will my health be if I do not make the right change today?
- 3 years from today what will my health be if I take the right step today?
- Am I willing and ready to let go of my prejudice and the “wonderful” lifestyle that is gradually destroying me to become the healthy and productive person I know I can be?
You already know the right answer to these questions. You also know what you need to do.
Now take a deep breath, close your eyes and see what you want your health to be, the changes you need to make and steps you need to take to make those changes. Minor changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a rewarding ripple effect on your health.
Do not let the big picture discourage and overwhelm you. Make the right move. A workout in the gym, a simple walk that last only 20 minutes every day or just adding more live food like fruits and vegetables to your diet can add years of good health to your life.
Walking away from destructive relationships and creating balance in every area of your life will go a long way in improving your health. Always remember where you saw yourself when you closed your eye. It is possible to have that life. Whenever you slip back to an unhealthy lifestyle or you are tempted to go back to it, remember the choice you made and why you made it : you chose a healthy lifestyle because – you are helping yourself to stay healthy, feel good, prevent chronic disease, live a life that is not dependent on medication, look better and live longer. That is optimum health. Who would not want that?
Go ahead, make those changes and live a healthy and fun filled life. Let me know about your journey and how i can help. Leave your comments and questions below.
100% health – Patrick Holford