What Does “Health” Mean to You?

What does the word “Health” mean to you?

To me, the complete story of health can not be told by a number on a scale, or even by a medical record.

Just because you don’t have diabetes, heart disease etc., doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re healthy.  Likewise, being “skinny” doesn’t automatically mean you’re healthy either.

Health is more than the lack of disease. It is more than being “skinny”.

So what does “health” mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, health is: “The condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially:  freedom from physical disease or pain.”

My definition is similar as can be seen in the image below. The soundness of the mind/spirit is related to happiness, whereas soundness of the body requires good nutrition and fitness.

What does "health" mean to you? Happiness, fitness, and nutrition all contribute to the overall health of mind and body.

As seen above,  good overall health requires happiness, nutrition, and fitness. Each of these these components can have an effect on each other, as well as on overall health.

The Effect of Good Nutrition and Fitness on Happiness

It is hard to be happy if your body is unhealthy due to sickness or disease.

  • Good fitness and nutrition prevent disease.
  • In addition, having good fitness and nutrition can improve self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence which all tend to improve happiness as well – score!

The Effect of Happiness on Nutrition and Fitness

Happiness can also make it easier to stay on top of fitness and nutrition goals. When individuals are unhappy, they may:

  • Engage in emotional eating which can lead to weight gain (and increased disease risk over the long-term).
  • Lack the motivation to complete the workouts, therefore decreasing fitness.

The Effect of Nutrition on Fitness and Vice Versa

  • Good nutrition is required to be able to complete workouts and help the body repair muscle tissue following a workout.
  • You can’t outwork a bad diet. Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand.

Summary

  • Health is more than a number on a scale or a lack of disease.
  • Overall health includes soundness of both the body AND the mind.
  • A healthy body can lead to significant increases in happiness.
  • Being unhappy can decrease the likelihood of sticking to nutrition and fitness goals.

Based on this model, you can see that health, fitness, nutrition, and happiness are all intertwined. Stay tuned for future posts which will touch more on the most commonly forgotten piece of health – the mind and happiness.

Your Turn – Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below!

  • What is your ideal picture of health for your own life? 
    • Is it feeling comfortable enough in your own skin to do X?
    • Is it being physically fit enough to do Y?
    • Is it simply enjoying each day as it passes?
  • Write it down, hang it somewhere where you’ll see it and be motivated by it often, and then go get it!

 

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