BLOG OF THE WEEK!
That word seems so simple, yet can include so many different definitions. Does it mean physical health? Mental health? Emotional health?
Yes. It means all of those things.
Taking care of ourselves means following a holistic approach that encompasses all health: from the health of our muscles and organs to our emotional wellbeing. Fitness, it turns out, can keep us healthy in every sense of the word.
What is Health?
Before we can dive into ways to improve our overall health, we need to understand what it is – and what it’s not.
In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
That definition still applies today, but the WHO clarified it even further in 1986:
“A resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.”
Over the years, the WHO and other reputable organizations have expanded the definition of health, creating a holistic approach that encompasses all aspects of our wellbeing.
But we as humans often tend to view health as a “lack of infirmity,” or simply “not being sick.”
It’s so much more than that. In fact, our mental, emotional, and even financial health contribute to our physical wellbeing. Taking care of ourselves in every aspect of our lives will not only help us feel better mentally, but can also lead to better overall physical health.
How Exercise Can Impact Our Health
When considering your overall health – both body and mind – exercise plays a crucial role. That’s because exercise not only keeps you physically fit but also helps increase your mental and emotional fitness too.
Every time you hit the gym (or the Box, the trail, the treadmill, or even that yoga class), your body releases endorphins that dramatically impact your mood. These endorphins give you that “natural high” you feel after a seriously great workout.
These endorphins help us feel happier, reduce stress, and even help us manage physical pain. The brain-body connection is very real; physical activity can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, and even help us reduce feelings of stress and anger.
Our mental and emotional health love a good workout. But our bodies need that physical exercise, too. Regular workouts have all kinds of incredible physical benefits:
Losing weight can decrease the risk of obesity-related diseases like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
Regular weight-bearing exercise doesn’t just increase your muscle mass. It also improves bone density and bone strength, preventing osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.
If you struggle with 3:00 pm fatigue, you’re not alone. But one study proved that regular exercise can help you feel more energized all day long, helping prevent the mid-day slump. Merely taking a short walk at lunch or taking 10 minutes to do some burpees can have a significant impact on your energy throughout the day.
Boost Your Brain Health and Memory
It’s no secret that many of us women are running on mental and emotional fumes. Part of that could be related to poor sleep habits. But regular exercise can help us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Plus, physical activity can increase the quality of our sleep, leaving us more refreshed when we wake.
Now we have your attention, right? Regular physical activity can boost your sex drive, increase your performance, and enhance the sexual experience. Plus, weight loss and increased muscle tone can increase your confidence, making you much more likely to, shall we say, engage in out-of-the-gym activities.
The WODBottom Line? Exercise increases your health – in every sense of the word.
What Does "Healthy" Mean for You?
In the end, each personal definition of “health” is different. You have to decide what that looks like for you, in your life, under your specific circumstances.
Perhaps physical health is the most important aspect of your overall wellbeing. Or maybe you need to focus more attention on your mental and emotional health.
Take a moment to think about the word “health” and define what it means to you. What areas of your overall health are you cultivating? Which parts need more attention?
Every part of our wellbeing – from our brains to our bodies to our souls – is essential to living an enriched, full life. This week, take a few steps towards wellness. Your body – and your mind – will thank you.