AN INTRODUCTION TO HEALTH
Throughout the decades, health trends have experienced many reinventions, readjustments, and revisions. Whether it’s Greek muscle men lifting Halteres (what we now call dumbbells), 1980s VHS aerobic workouts, or modern wearable technology, the evolution of exercise methods may sometimes move faster than our understanding of what good health actually means.
Things that were once deemed healthy many years ago are now understood to be bad for our health. That acknowledgement of our past mistakes is what keeps us searching for better health and new advancements in wellness.
But first, in order to better understand where the trends are headed, let’s take a look at what we define as health.
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” Hippocrates
WHAT IS HEALTH?
The term health covers a broad spectrum of areas, but can generally be described as being in a state of good physical and mental wellbeing.
A more modern definition of health would also include the notion of striving to maintain a strong balance between all aspects of your wellbeing in everyday life, no matter how large or small the action.
To achieve better overall health through this state of physical and mental wellbeing, Psychology Today lists five main areas of focus:
- Emotional wellbeing
- Physical wellbeing
- Social wellbeing
- Workplace wellbeing
- Societal wellbeing
The ability to control your stress management, and muster emotions that develop into good feelings.
But how healthy is our wellbeing? The graphs below provide some insights into the UK health and wellbeing from January to March 2012-2020.
This focus on 2020 data in particular shows how the external factors of the world (such as Brexit and coronavirus) can affect overall health and wellbeing. The increased levels of anxiety and decreased levels of happiness are in direct correlation with England exiting the EU, and pre-lockdown worries nationwide.
Now that we know the five main areas of wellbeing required to achieve good health, and have seen how the world around us can affect it, let’s look into the key areas of health.
TYPES OF HEALTH
While the definition of the word has changed and evolved over the centuries, there are still three primary types of health, and they tend to fall under the following areas:
Physical Health. Physical health is defined as being in good physical condition and free from ailments of the body. A person who is in prime physical condition has a body that functions well.
Good physical health practices include exercise, keeping away from alcohol and cigarettes, and maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet.
Emotional Health. Contrary to popular belief, being in sound emotional health doesn’t mean being constantly happy. Instead, it relates to our capabilities to cope with everyday events in our lives, and our capacity to handle our own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.
Good emotional health practices include being aware of your emotions and communicating your emotions in an effective and socially appropriate manner.
Mental Health. Perhaps the most difficult of the main three types of health to summarise, good mental health alludes to the ability to not only deal with emotions but how our brains process and interpret information.
Over the years, we’ve come to understand further how both physical and mental health work in tandem. In fact, all three of these areas have a direct impact on one another. For example:
15 million people in the United Kingdom live with a long-term physical condition.
Over 4 million of those people have or will develop a mental health condition as well.
Individuals with cancer, asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure are more at risk of suffering from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.
37.6% of people with severe mental health problems will also have a long-term physical condition.
Source: Mental Health Foundation
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