WHAT IS HEALTH?
In dictionaries Health is defined as “a state of being free from illness or injury”. The WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not nearly the absence of disease or infirmity”.
PEOPLE’S UNDERSTANDING OF HEALTH VARIES
If one were to ask around, the perception of health may be very different such as
- the ability to perform feats of extreme endurance (such as running a marathon) or to demonstrate great physical strength (such as lifting a very heavy weight)
- Absence of disease
- not needing to take any medicines
- never needing hospitalisation
- never having any physical complaints of the body
- never catching colds or fevers
- able to work long and hard at the job without any difficulty
WHY MAINTAINING HEALTH ISN’T EASY
People often start thinking of health only when it is lost. Many, think they can wish away their health problems. Many illnesses are under recognised. Illnesses such as Stress, depression, Obesity, high cholesterol, Alcohol and Nicotine use, high BP and even Diabetes are often looked over as being unimportant or not needing any treatment or even attention. Most people are in a state of denial of these minor ailments and refuse to take remedial action and therefore suffer bigger and more grave conditions such as Heart attacks, Strokes, Kidney failure and Cancer.
WHAT IS HEALTH?
It is a state where the mind and body are functioning at their optimal best. (the best you that you could possibly be!)
Health could mean all the following put together
– having a positive cheerful outlook always
– not feeling tired at any time of the day
– sleeping well everyday.
– having a good exercise capacity.
– having a good social life which keeps you happy and contented.
– having all your blood parameters under good control
– achieving your ideal body weight and shape.
HEALTH basically means that you are a living machine functioning without any problems and on testing has been found to have all normal parameters and are on auto-pilot mode to maintain your current (health) status!
Unfortunately in reality, health is an unsteady state. You could be healthy one minute and unhealthy the next. Importantly Health cannot be taken for granted and is a goal that you should work towards constantly.
MAINTENANCE OF HEALTH REQUIRES
(A) Healthy Habits to be cultivated
Diet – always eat less than you want to
– remember tasty food is usually unhealthy. Eat less of it.
– have small frequent meals
– Break Fast like a King, Lunch as a Prince and Dine like a Pauper.
– choose natural organic foods to Processed/Packaged/Fast foods.
– choose a variety of fruits and vegetable to eat during each meal.
– ensure adequate fibre intake with your food.
– Avoid starving as well as feasting.
Exercise – Exercise daily
– Both aerobic and Resistance training is essential.
– seek professional guidance before embarking on an exercise programme.
– never exercise to exhaustion and ensure recovery before the next session.
To achieve your Ideal Body Weight and shape
– it is essential never to carry excess body weight.
– know your ideal BMI, waist hip ratios and work on achieving your targets
– to achieve your ideal weight requires both dietary restriction and adequate exercise.
Sleep – try to get 7-9 hrs of sleep at night.
– an afternoon siesta is definitely good for your health.
– Identify your non-negotiable principles in life, stress often occurs when your actions contradict your principles.
– Think of how you will achieve a good Work Life balance.
-Set aside some time daily for yourself.
-Human beings are social animals and having a good circle of friends would go a long
in helping you cope with the rigours of life.
– Make time to attend your friend’s birthday parties, weddings and other social events.
– A positive frame of mind – is essential to prevent stress build up.
– Hope for the future, Faith in the Almighty are huge stress busters.
– Meditation and mind control.
– Dream big, set huge goals. Focus on your goals and work towards them.
– take regular holidays and breaks from the routine.
Stress release- People prefer a variety of activities to release stress in their lives.
– Aerobic exercise – jogging, cycling, swimming, Dancing
– Gym and Weight Training
– Yoga, Tai chi, Karate and Martial arts,
– Sports – Tennis, badminton, etc
(B) To set health Goals and Targets
– Goals for Ideal Body Weight and shape
– Goals for BP, Blood sugars and Cholesterol
– Goals for aerobic exercise
(C) Health Monitoring
– speak to your doctor about your Annual Master Health Check up.
– “what gets measured, improves”
(D) Plan your Day Week and Year
-“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”
-Everyone has only 24 hrs a day. If sleep takes up 6-8 hrs, Work 8-12 hrs, travel 1-2 hrs only 2-8 hrs are left for everything else in your life. If you increase the time at work, you would automatically have less time for sleep/rest or exercise. It is therefore imperative to plan your day, everyday!
REASONS FOR LOSS OF HEALTH
Unhealthy habits and practices lead to disease and loss of health/disease, whereas healthy habits and practices lead to health, reversal of diseases and improved quality of life. It is therefore important to make all the necessary changes and to adopt all the healthy practices and habits to achieve the best possible health for ourselves at every stage of our lives.
People focus so much on their jobs that they are unable to even think of health.
Health requires regular thinking of how to stay healthy, how to monitor current body status and to make the necessary changes by consulting experts.
My next few articles would expand on each of the points highlighted!