The word “health” came from the Old English word “hælth”, which means “wholeness”. If you are healthy, you are “whole” in every sense of the word. Good health is essential to living a longer and happier life. In this article, we will discuss what is good health, the types of health, and most importantly, how to preserve good health.
What is Good Health?
In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as the state of having complete physical, mental, and social well-being; not merely the absence of sickness or infirmity.
In 1986, the WHO further clarified the definition — health is a positive concept that emphasizes physical capacities, as well as social and personal resources. This means that health is an asset that will support a person’s function in wider society and not an end in itself. A healthy lifestyle provides the means to live a life full of meaning and purpose.
Types of Health
Persons who have good physical health have body functions and processes working at their peak. This is not only due to an absence of disease. Balanced nutrition, adequate rest, and regular exercise all contribute to good health. That said, some people seek medical treatment to maintain balance, whenever necessary.
Physical well-being necessitates pursuing a healthy lifestyle to minimize the risk of disease. Maintaining a regular physical fitness program, for example, can improve a person’s respiratory and heart function, flexibility, muscular strength, and body composition.
Good physical health works in tandem with good mental health in improving a person’s overall quality of life.
Mental health refers to an individual’s emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It is more difficult to define mental health than it is to define physical health because psychological diagnosis will depend on a person’s perception of their experiences.
Good mental health is not only characterized by the absence of depression, loneliness, anxiety, or any other mental disorder. It will also depend on a person’s ability to:
- enjoy life
- bounce back after difficult experiences and adapt to adversity
- balance the different elements of life (family, finances, etc.)
- feel safe and secure
- achieve their full potential
Factors That Can Affect Health
All of us are born with a variety of genes. In some people, having an unusual genetic pattern can lead to having a less than optimum level of health. A person may inherit genes from his/her parents that may increase the risk for certain health conditions.
Environmental factors may also affect the health of a person. There are times when the environment alone can impact health. There are also instances wherein an environmental trigger may cause illness to a person who has a genetic risk of a particular disease.
Access to healthcare services also plays a role, but the WHO says that the following can have a more significant impact on health:
- where a person lives
- the state of the surrounding environment
- level of education
- employment status
How a person manages stress can also affect his/her health. The National Institute of Mental Health says that people who drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or take illegal drugs to manage stressful situations are more likely to develop diseases than those who manage stress through exercise, healthy diet, and relaxation techniques.
The best way to maintain health is to preserve it by having a healthy lifestyle rather than addressing the health problems when the sickness is already there. People use the word wellness to describe the continuous state of enhanced well-being.
Steps that can help people attain wellness include:
- eating a nutritious and balanced diet from as many natural sources possible
- engaging in moderate to high-intensity exercise every week for at least 150 minutes
- learning to manage stress effectively
- screening for diseases which may present a risk
- engaging in activities that provide purpose
- connecting with or caring for other people
- maintaining a positive outlook on life
So what is good health? People may have their own definition; but in general, it means having a healthy body as a result of good nutrition, regular physical activity, adequate rest, and having a healthy mental and emotional state.
FITin56 is all about getting fit and healthy, and staying that way. Join FITin56 today!