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Health and Fitness: Introduction

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World Health Organization's (WHO's) definition of "health"

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” "Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities."

Wellness is a comprehensive term which is related to Health: It’s important to define it here:

According to the Mickinley Health Center, University of Illinois, Wellness "is a state of optimal well-being that is oriented toward maximizing an individual's potential. This is a life-long process of moving towards enhancing your physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental well-being."

The University of East Carolina defines Wellness as "the integration of mind, body and spirit. Optimal wellness allows us to achieve our goals and find meaning and purpose in our lives. Wellness combines seven dimensions of well-being into a quality way of living. Overall, wellness is the ability to live life to the fullest and to maximize personal potential in a variety of ways. Wellness involves continually learning and making changes to enhance your state of wellness. When we balance the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, occupational, spiritual, and environmental aspects of life, we achieve true wellness."

According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, Wellness is "A philosophy of life and personal hygiene that views health as not merely the absence of illness but the full realization of one's physical and mental potential, as achieved through positive attitudes, fitness training, a diet low in fat and high in fiber, and the avoidance of unhealthful practices (smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, overeating)".

Health-Important Aspects/Parts

Mental Health

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The World Health Organization [WHO] defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community".
Mental health can be defined as a state of mind free from diseases/illness/infection and psychological disorders. The phrase mental health covers many concepts like emotional wellbeing, higher creativity, positive outlook, balancing thoughts and activities, and successfully meeting the challenges of life. A good mental health also helps to develop a higher level of Intelligence Quotient [IQ], Emotional Quotient [EQ] and Spiritual Quotient [SQ].  It is also related to a person’s level of flexibility, adaptation, safety, security and self-satisfaction in life.

Physical Health

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In most of the cases, people use the terms health and physical health interchangeably, but both are different; the health is much wider in scope and meaning [Refer the definition above]. Good physical health implies healthy [physiology, anatomy, structure etc.] condition of organs, muscles, bones, skin, hairs etc. Sound physical health is related to body fitness which includes cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, muscle strength, bone density, body composition [fat, muscle].Other factors of decent physical health are nutrition, balanced diet, body mass index [BMI], weight management and resting heart rate. Responsible sex behavior [sexual health] and avoiding substance abuse [alcohol, tobacco, drugs etc.] are also very important parts of a healthy lifestyle.

Social Health

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Social health is the third most important part that defines the health of a human being. Due to the interconnected nature of health, it is observed that good social health also supports a good mental and physical health and vice-versa. The social health of individuals refers to "that dimension of an individual's well-being that concerns how he gets along with other people, how other people react to him, and how he interacts with social institutions and societal mores" (Russell 1973, p. 75). This definition is broad—it incorporates elements of personality and social skills, reflects social norms, and bears a close relationship to concepts such as "well-being," "adjustment," and "social functioning."

Methods to improve health

Regular and planned physical workout increases cardiovascular health, Immunity, brain health, physiological and psychological wellbeing etc. Some of the methods being explained here are:

  • Aerobic Exercises
  • Weight Training
  • Flexibility Exercises
  • Sports
  • Yoga
  • Good Nutrition
  • Naturopathy
  • Other Common methods

Benefits of Good Health

The list can be really very comprehensive, but some of the chief benefits of a good health are as follows:

  • Enjoy a lifestyle free from disease and ailments.
  • Improve the natural immunity of the body.
  • Develop physical stamina and self-confidence.
  • Keep your heart healthy [Cardio Fitness].
  • Increase the brain efficiency and memory.
  • Feel good within yourself and in public.
  • Increase your sexual health and aesthetics.
  • Reduce the effects of aging.
  • Stay younger, appealing and charismatic.
  • Say bye-bye to stress and depression.
  • Eliminate various medical conditions and costs.
  • Live longer and enjoy a good health.
  • Stay energetic, powerful and passionate.
  • Be more productive, dynamic and creative.
  • Save money on doctors, drugs, diagnosis etc.
  • Improve your IQ, EQ and SQ, the core of human personality.
  • Enjoy a vibrant health and help others.
  • Take good care of your near and dear ones.
  • Help the society to evolve, grow and develop.
  • Cutoff the use of cosmetics, makeups and other artificial stuff.
  • Participate in sports and other recreational activities.

Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health have been recognized by some health organizations such as the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization [WHO] which influences collective and personal well-being in the society. A list of determinants of health, only some of which are social determinants is given below:

  1. Income and social status
  2. Race
  3. Social support networks
  4. Education and literacy, i.e. health literacy
  5. Employment/Working conditions
  6. Social environments
  7. Physical environments
  8. Life skills
  9. Personal health practices and coping skills
  10. Healthy child development
  11. Biology and genetic endowment
  12. Health services
  13. Gender
  14. Culture
  15. Sexual orientation

[This article is also known by the following terms: wellness, fitness, well-being, physical exercise, mental health, physical health, social health, cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, diet, nutrition, body weight, benefits of good health.]

Important Videos

Famous Quotes

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.
-John F. Kennedy
Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.
-Jim Rohn
The first wealth is health.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
-Mahatma Gandhi
Attention to health is life's greatest hindrance.

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Relevant Information

What is Aerobic Exercise?
Weight Training Workouts
Weight Training: ACSM Guidelines
Weight Loss Resources


See the References Section: Books, Journal Articles, Periodicals, Conferences, Reports, Websites, Electronic Sources, Arts, Sound Recordings, Performances, Films, Interviews, Patents, Case Studies, Miscellaneous

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