Good health is a gift and is obtained by leading a balanced life-physically, mentally, and spiritually. Often, we abuse ourselves with a sedentary lifestyle; poor nutrition; lack of adequate rest; and toxic chemicals such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Our air and water quality are questionable, stress runs high in our lives, and chronic illness and health complaints are rampant. Our immune system takes a beating and can become overloaded. For many of us, our lifestyle choices no longer promote the wonderful health we should be enjoying.
The principle of sowing and reaping can often be applied to our health status. If we plant seeds of good health, we’ll receive healthful benefits as our harvest. On the other hand, if we sow seeds of ill health, we’ll soon discover our returned harvest is diminished health, lessened vitality, and a weakened body. Of course, things can go wrong despite our best efforts.
Is there a difference between health and fitness? According to Dr. M. Ted Morter, Jr., author of Exercise or Diet: Which Will Win the Race to Health, "Exercise is one element of living that affects your health. However, we have a paradox here. Your body needs exercise to be healthy. But exercise cannot make you healthy. Health is a function of your internal environment. Fitness is a function of exercise."
As our bodies weaken, we cite poor fitness or the aging process as justification for not exercising. Our vitality slips away, and the pounds add up. We become even less active and exercise less. This results in the belief that we no longer have the ability to take charge of our own health, fitness, and wellbeing.
Both physical fitness and physical health are important in the overall scheme, but they’re very different. For example, not only is superb physical performance possible in the presence of severe coronary heart disease, but a person may not feel the symptoms. Even people with imminently fatal heart disease can play sports, exercise, and participate in physical recreational pursuits. On the other hand, you may have an extremely strong heart and still be very physically de-conditioned-low levels of muscle mass, strength, endurance, and inadequate flexibility.
Our concept of health and wellness has become distorted with the advent of modern medicine and technological advances. Dr. Ross Hauser, Caring Medical and Rehabilitation Services, said, "The way to improve the health care system in the United States is to make it a health care system, not an illness system."
When we become "’sick," we visit the doctor to be made well again. Doctors help maintain our bodies and bring our health back into a manageable condition when things go wrong, but the ultimate determinant of how healthy you’ll be is the lifestyle you pursue. Therefore, your doctor isn’t responsible for your health. You are. It’s your body and your responsibility to care for it. IBI