Fitness and health



The world health organisation defines health as:

A complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

This definition acknowledges that health is more than just the physical aspect. It involves a fine interdependence of your physical body, your brain and your mind to work together in providing you with a healthy life. In part our lifestyle is responsible for the degree of healthiness we attain. For example somebody who constantly over eats, drinks excessive amounts of alcohol and is a chain smoker most certainly is at higher risk of developing not only physical illnesses but the mental health and social health of such a person will also begin to suffer. And then there are a whole host of different lifestyle choices we make on a day to day basis which increase of decrease our risk of developing certain mental or physical illnesses. 

Our socio-economic status (eg. where we live, how much we earn and what type of people do we interact with.) It is a well known fact that the higher we are in the rat race of life, the healthier we are likely to be. Probably because an educated, rich and successful individual has less stress than a poor, unemployed and lonely individual with a strained relationship with their family. Stress is the biggest contributing factor to a plethora of diseases. Stress reduced are immune response, making us susceptible to diseases which we otherwise would not be. Stress causes hypercotisolaemia which leads to mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Stress stops us from sleeping. Stress makes our cognitive skills weaken and we easily succumb to societal or environmental pressures like drugs, alcohol, smoking and over-eating.

Our genetics. Unfortunately some of us will be born with certain features that we have no control over. Height, skin type and the very structure that codes for every single protein in our body – our DNA. Therefore, some aspects of health we cannot control. Somebody who has an extra chromosome 21 will have Down’s syndrome. Someone who has autoimmune dysfunction in the pancreatic beta cells will develop Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Someone who is of Caucasian descent is more likely to develop melanoma. Some of Asian descent is more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. However the good news here is that the incidents of pure genetic inheritance of a disease is quite small. Genetic mutations are rare but deadly. If you or someone you know has a genetic disease you will know that it makes every day life extremely tedious and sometimes very unpleasant. But all these other disorders like diabetes with mature on-set, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Depression and even Alcoholism do indeed have a genetic basis BUT are also increased by what we do to our body. Take depression for a moment. Someone who has family history of depression already is at higher risk of getting the disorder at some point in their lives. Now, if they lead a particularly difficult life with limited opportunities and no therapy, their chances of developing depression increases even more. So I guess the take home message here is that we can’t control our genes but we can and should control our own actions in order to reduce the risk of developing diseases.

Life events. These are things that are usually beyond our control – to an extent. A car crash which leaves you with a spinal cord injury will most definitely impinge on not only your immediate health but also your mental and social health in the long-term. Bereavements of loved ones. These many not cause any physical problems but social and mental health can be vulnerable. Same goes for unhappy marriages and divorce. Or Bullying, rape, murder, crime of any kind and even natural events like Hurricanes, volcano eruptions, earthquakes and floods.

I do sometimes like to think of what I do on a day to day basis and how each activity of mine improves or deteriorates my health. I stress a lot. I guess it is natural. I am a young woman with many aspirations and stressing is positive because it gets me going, it makes me take action. Its when that stress becomes chronic (long-term) that it starts to impinge on my physical and mental health. So to stop myself from entering a downwards spiral which can only lead to distress, I plan in activities for my self which de-stress me. Or rather I press my own re-set, factory setting button. Everyone will have something they do purely for themselves. I like to cook. And write. And watch supernatural TV dramas on Netflix. And when I’ve had my moment I am a better person by the end because I’ve given my body a chance to rest and revive itself. This is important to do because your body is yours to treasure and love and cherish. If you treat it like a slave, you will end up being a slave to your multitude of health problems.

I have a long-term condition which gets worse every time I let myself go and gain more weight than I should. I battle with my food and exercise on a constant basis. Sometimes I win and sometimes I do not. Currently I am working towards my goal and eating better. And by eating better I don’t mean starving myself. I mean eating all three meals, eating plenty of protein and carbohydrates and eating fresh. Keeping myself hydrated through water rather than carbonated drinks and by doing the recommended exercise daily. I not only think that this is good and beneficial for my physical health but it also clears my head and allows better blood circulation which in turn makes me a smarter, crisper and happier individual.

I firmly believe that the key to happiness and to a successful life is through a healthy body, mind and soul. Do healthy things and don’t let others influence you to ruin the most precious gift of all – your good health.




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