ARE YOU HEALTHY?
The sustenance and maintenance of health remains a big challenge across the world. Most people take issues of health or healthy living lightly, counterintuitively treating it as an afterthought in the pursuit of a good life. These people often forget, that health really is what gives us the capacity to live a good, quality filled life. When addressing the issue of health, most think of the residents of developed countries, fitness models, gym instructors and people who show no visible signs and symptoms of disease. Health encloses all aspects of our life; the way we think, the food we eat, the company we keep and the physical state of our very being.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Having a healthy style of living ensures the optimal function of the body and reduces the likelihood of falling ill.
Health can be categorized into different types:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Spiritual health
- Emotional health
- Environmental health
- Occupational health
- Social health
Physical health pertains to the condition of the body
Physical health pertains to the condition of the body. It is the most common and noticeable category of health; many health conditions such as cancer, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and brain disorders, manifest on the body. It is the aspect of health that ensures that our body operates at its optimal level. Physical health plays a major role in mental wellness, social wellness, spiritual wellness as well as emotional wellness. Certain conditions interfere with the optimization of physical health. Some of these conditions include malnutrition, bad sleep patterns, prolonged illnesses, major diseases and lack of exercise.
“Maintaining good health should be the primary focus of everyone.” – Sangram Singh
- Malnutrition or simply “bad nutrition” can be accurately described as a condition that results from eating a diet that has inadequate or excessive amounts of one or more nutrients. Malnutrition has a negative impact on physical health and may result in death. Children and women are more susceptible to malnutrition when compared to men. Up to 45% of fatalities in children under the age of 5 is associated with undernourishment, according to WHO. Malnutrition is also shown to have harmful effects on intelligence, and children with malnutrition are at a considerable risk of high blood pressure when older, some studies have found.
- Bad sleep patterns are known to have severe effects on health. It is recommended that one sleeps at least 8 hours a day. Less than 6 hours or over 10 hours of sleep a day may result in metabolic syndrome; a condition characterized by abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Bad sleep patterns are also associated high levels of fatty molecules and low levels of high-density lipoprotein(also known as good cholesterol as it gets rid of harmful cholesterol types attributed with hypertension), according to studies.
- Major diseases and prolonged illnesses such as malaria, cancer and various heart disorders affect the optimal function of the body’s systems. A strong heart makes a strong brain which in turn, makes a strong body system. This means, a defect in any one of the organ systems will inevitably affect another, consequently interfering with the proper functioning of the body.
- The lack of exercise affects blood circulation, causing illnesses such as diabetes, many heart diseases, obesity and several brain disorders. According to findings, exercise improves insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. Exercise also enhances the immune system, strengthens bones and joints, and improves muscle tone.
Major diseases and prolonged illnesses such as malaria, cancer and various heart disorders affect the optimal function of the body’s systems.
MENTAL, SPIRITUAL & EMOTIONAL HEALTH
These aspects of health relate to the general condition of the mind. This refers to an individual’s ability to cope with stressful events and the perceptions of one’s attitude or behaviour. When mental, spiritual or emotional health is compromised, it may lead to other conditions. These include mood disorders, eating disorders, recklessness, emotional outbursts, low self-esteem and bad sleep patterns. However activities like meditation are reported to improve spiritual, mental and emotional health.
Environmental health is a focus on our surroundings and how it impacts our general state of wellness. The quality of the water we drink, the air we breathe, the animals we pet, the food we eat and our very homes, can endanger our wellbeing. Personal hygiene alone will not ensure one lives a healthy life. Protective measures are required to sustain the health of our surroundings and ultimately ourselves. When our environments are safe, our health also improves.
Occupational health applies to the condition of our workplaces and how they may affect our health. It is essential to foster and maintain the welfare of all workers, as good physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health maximizes productivity. It is important to take the necessary precautions at the workplace to maximize the wellbeing of workers. A number of work related activities can negatively affect the health of workers. Evidence from research suggests, actions such as sitting for long hours without break and staring at a computer screen for hours at a time are known to have detrimental effects on one’s health. The latter, more specifically, causes a condition known as computer vision syndrome. This is characterized by eye discomfort and vision problems such as blurry vision and double vision.
Social health deals with the ability of a person to interact and network with others. This aspect of health is mostly driven by the state of our physical and mental health. To ensure social wellbeing, one must be mentally and physically strong. Emotional wellness also plays a role in the way we connect with others. The company we keep influences our health greatly. It may be the people we associate with, the movies we watch, the type of music we listen to or even the books we choose to read. All of these determine the state of social health.
To adequately sustain a good health and enjoy the quality of life, individuals must:
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain weight that falls in the healthy category
- Eat a balanced diet
- Overcome harmful addictions such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption
- Practice meditation
- Practice proper sanitation
- Manage blood sugar levels
- Form safe habits
- Drink Enough Water
- Manage blood pressure
- Sleep well
- Keep good company
- Develop good personal hygiene