What Does Health Mean to You?

What is Health?

First, let’s define health and healthy.  Such common buzzwords that are thrown around often.  But what do they really mean? Well the dictionary has it’s version…

Health (noun):

  • The state of being free from illness or injury.

  • A person's mental or physical condition.

Healthy (adjective):

  • In a good physical or mental condition; in good health.

  • (of a part of the body) not diseased.

Probably something we ‘knew’ already, but it might elicit some different emotions or feelings when we see it written down. Being free from illness or injury is a big part of it, but not the only part as we see with the second definition…’a person’s mental or physical condition’.  Pretty multifaceted and tough to put an exact measure on, plus add in each person’s individual definition and boom...good luck knowing what health is.

But the cool thing, is that it will be very unique and individualistic to you.  And I’m sure your own definition will change over time as we age. So, I pose the question, ‘What is your definition of health?...What does it mean to you? (characteristics, thoughts, etc.) What affects health?  Why should we even worry about it?

List these things out.  Thoughts up in the head can get lost and forgotten about in the midst of a busy day.  So carve out some time on a weekend day (maybe 5-10 mins or so) and answer the above questions.  You might surprise yourself or you might be spot on, but now you’ll have it down in writing.

Now what?

Cool, a definition, but why does that matter and what can I do with it? Well it should be personal. One driving factor in motivation to change is defining a why and making it important to you. Defining the issue and giving it meaning is the first step.  Then you can create specific goals, skills and behaviors related to that definition. So lets say your definition of health includes being able to live disease and injury free for as long as possible, so that you can enjoy life to the fullest with your family and the people that you love..this includes doing the activities without pain or discomfort, looking and feeling great, and not stressing over food choices so that you can enjoy life…..Pretty deep and some meaning to it right?  Rather than ‘I just want to be healthy or I want to improve my health’

Once that meaning is defined, let’s create some goals on how to accomplish this…

  1. I want to stay strong and maintain muscle mass that is appropriate for my age, so that I can continue to do the activities I enjoy without struggle and pain

  2. I want to look great and feel great for as long as I can maintain it (the next 30-50 years)

  3. I don’t want to stress about what I eat or be very strict about my exercise routine and make it more of a lifestyle for the years ahead

Some of these goals are vague, which is ok, because we will get more specific with the next step...the skills:

  1. Resistance training 1-3 times per week

  2. Consistent eating habits along with consistent exercise (resistance training + aerobic training)

  3. Have guide available to practice hand rule during meals and have daily check ins so that I am mindful and aware of how my body feels/responds to food, plus awareness of hunger

Awesome, things that you can specifically work on...what do you do each day?  Our last step...the behaviors or the practices:

  1. Follow structured training regimen created by personal trainer for specific goals (1-3 days per week, with option of full workout, at-home workout, or quick workout). Everything is provided including what (exercises) and how (sets, reps, tempo, etc.) which will align with my specific goals (strength and muscle mass)

  2. Follow guidelines presented by specific program (eat slow, eat to 80% full, eat veggies, protein, healthy fats, and smart carbs for most meals) and program created specifically my goals

  3. Follow the ‘hand rule’ with meals, eat slowly at most meals, and eat to 80% full at most meals

Next steps:

My challenge to you is to try this out on your own:

  1. Find your definition of health

  2. Create 1-3 goals based off of that definition

  3. Create 1-3 skills that will support your goals

  4. Create 1-3 behaviors that will supplement the skills you’ve created

Don’t worry if it’s not perfect at first. This health and fitness thing is usually one big trial and error process and will more than likely change over time.  So just get something down on paper and get started. It would be great to hear what you’ve come up with! Below is a link to a quick survey with a couple questions relating to your definition of health: Survey Link

As always if you have any questions or are having trouble defining health, feel free to reach out at ryan@continuedperformance.com.