These days we are inundated with pictures, videos and other marketing materials selling the idea of health as an athletic, physically fit individual with a well-sculpted physique and six pack abs. While I agree that to be healthy one needs to maintain a certain level of physical fitness, but this emphasis on fitness and one’s external appearance often causes many to confuse physical fitness for health.
Comparing Fitness & Health
According to the American Department of Health and Human Services, physical fitness is “a set of attributes a person has in regards to his/her ability to perform physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, or flexibility and is determined by a combination of regular activity and genetically inherited ability”.
Health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. When comparing the meaning of both physical fitness and health it is clear to see that the two are not the same.
When physical fitness gets confused with health, one’s outlook can become skewed and performance, training and physical appearance can become both the driving force and benchmark measurement for what is perceived as being healthy. This can at times lead to some of the key elements of health (adequate nutrition, emotional well being, body awareness, maintenance of healthy bodily functions and cycles) often taking a back seat. I see this often with athletic patients who come into my practice, they feel that they are healthy because they are very active and have a high level of physical fitness, however they are often dealing with unhealthy physiological issues such as digestive problems, insomnia, headaches, or psycho emotional problems like anxiety or depression.
The Chinese Medicine view of health
Chinese Medicine is in line with the WHO definition of health. It views health as a “balanced state of mind, body and spirit” or said in a more modern way it views health as a “balanced state of mental, physical, physiological, social, and spiritual well being”. In Chinese Medicine theory health is cultivated by nourishing and strengthening the inner body (mind, internal organs, organ systems, and nervous system) first and foremost, by eating a balanced nutrient dense diet, getting adequate rest and recovery, and maintaining a practice of self cultivation with internal martial arts (Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or meditation). By doing this one is able to establish a solid foundation of not only physical fitness but also health from both the inside and out.
For questions or to book a consultation please contact my office at 250 860-2212 or visit my website www.kelownaacupucnutreclinic.com
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.