What does it mean to be healthy? Sometimes, especially in this age of information technology, the amount of information coming our way about being healthy and what being healthy even means can be overwhelming, to put it lightly. Though it may seem there isn’t a simple answer to this question, I believe there is a straightforward way to look at health and what “being healthy” actually means:
Health = Fitness + Luck.
Let’s break down this equation to take a deeper look and understand how it can be a simple way to look at what being healthy means. First, we’ll break down health. Health can be measured in a myriad of ways, including, but not limited to body fat percentage, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, flexibility, strength and muscle mass. I think everyone would agree that if you had optimal levels in these categories, you’d be considered the model of a healthy human. It’s a great idea to pursue optimizing these categories if your goal is to optimize health.
So, how exactly do we ‘optimize these health categories’?
Well, the answer is quite simple, really—by pursuing a high level of fitness!
If we put a definition to fitness—much like we did health—we can see how fitness has a direct impact on our health. We can define fitness similarly to how we defined health, by considering various categories. Power, agility, balance, accuracy, coordination, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, flexibility, strength and stamina are the areas that comprise a complete picture of fitness.
By pursuing a strong base level in each of these fitness domains, we can see that we’re positively impacting our health. For example, by pursuing and improving cardiovascular endurance (i.e. fitness) we’re improving (by lowering) our resting heart rate (i.e. health). Through increasing our strength by putting on lean muscle, we can lower our body fat percentage. We could continue, making many more connections between increasing our fitness while simultaneously increasing our health. It’s great to know that by coming to the gym, we really are pursuing a healthier version of ourselves!
Now that we’ve covered that, you may be wondering how luck could possibly play into our equation. Well, luck is all of the things outside of our control. These mostly come in the form of bad luck (unfortunately). An example might be breaking a leg while playing a game of pick-up soccer or developing an illness completely outside of one’s control. Luck consists of all of the variables we cannot control, variables that, no matter how fit or healthy we are, can still impact us.
My hope is that now, with our equation, we have a better lens with which to look through all of the information coming at us regarding health really means. To me, it’s a simple answer—one that makes health a fun and lifelong pursuit!