Besides staying free of diseases, being healthy is also about physical, mental and social wellbeing. Find out what are the steps you can take to be truly healthy
Being healthy is more than just keeping yourself from falling sick. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines "health" as complete physical, mental and social well-being, rather than simply the absence of disease or illness.
Besides keeping yourself free from diseases, good health encompasses many other areas which include physical health, mental health and health management. Every area is important and cannot be neglected for you to achieve better health. You will see that with a few simple tips, you can learn to manage the different aspects of health, lead a more fulfilling life and keep diseases at bay.
Taking care of your body is important for good health, but the problem is that people often neglect their own bodies. If you do not eat a proper diet or do not get enough sleep, then you are depriving yourself of good physical health! Keeping yourself physically healthy will allow you to feel better and more energetic every day.
Good nutrition is about eating right. The food you eat provides the important nutrients needed by your body. Eating well-balanced and nutritious diet will result in:
- a stronger immune system to fight diseases
- reduced likelihood of falling ill
- better physical health
Here are a few tips on how you can pick up good eating habits for a healthier body:
- Eat more fruit and vegetables. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that keep your body healthy and strengthen your immune system. You should eat at least two servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables every day.
- Read food labels. Food labels provide you the nutrition information you need about the food.
- Choose food products with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS). These products are generally lower in fat, saturated fat, sodium or sugar, and higher in calcium or wholegrains as compared to similar products within the same category.
Another thing you should do to be healthy is to get active! Physical activity and exercise can really help to improve your health, not only by reducing the risk of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease but also:
- helps you feel more confident and better about yourself
- improves your energy level and concentration
- relieves stress and anxiety
It is recommended that a person should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on 5 or more days a week. Some moderate-intensity activities you can do are brisk walking, swimming, cycling or dancing.
You can find out more about the importance of exercise from HealthHub or simply get active today and take part in any physical activity programme that may be ongoing near you.
Related: Healthy Cooking
Besides a healthy body, you also need to have a healthy mind. Diseases not only affect the physical body but the mind as well. Mental health is therefore a very important component of your overall health and well-being.
The absence of mental illnesses or disorders such as depression or schizophrenia does not mean that a person is mentally healthy. The WHO defines good mental health as the state of wellbeing in which an individual can:
- cope with the normal stresses of life
- work productively and fruitfully
- realise his or her own potential
- contribute to his or her community
Having positive mental health will greatly improve the way you cope with stress and allow you to lead a more fulfilling and effective life. Some tips for good mental health:
- Learn to relax. Find something that you enjoy doing that helps to soothe anxiety or stress. You can go for a massage, listen to music or engage in exercise.
- Interact with your friends and family. They can give you emotional and psychological support in times of need. Speak to them if you have problems.
- Be confident of yourself. Building up your self-esteem will give you confidence to face problems and overcome challenges that life may throw at you. Always think positively.
Being in good health also means not smoking if you have not started or quitting smoking if you are smoker. Smoking is the single most avoidable cause of death. Globally, it has been estimated that smoking kills one person every 10 seconds. It not only causes cancer but is also a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive lung disease.
Quitting smoking has numerous benefits - physical, emotional and financial. And one of the first steps in quitting smoking is to make the decision to quit. Find out more about quitting smoking at I Quit.
Related: Quitting Smoking — The Supporter's Guide
Being healthy does not stop at keeping yourself free from disease and illness. Being healthy requires you to take care of your physical, mental and emotional health. There are no limits to how much health you can achieve. The healthier you are, the better you will be able to enjoy life!