Forget the scales or how your clothes fit. Dig a little deeper to see if your workout and diet routine is really working. This article features questions to ask yourself like, “Am I getting sick less frequently?” “Do I have more energy?” “Can I run farther without getting winded?” and “Do I have more good habits than a year ago?” You get the idea.
Weight is something that’s easy to quantify, which may be the reason why it gets a lot of attention. Over time it’s easy to determine whether you have gained or lost weight; it’s a black and white answer. However, how often you get sick is something that’s open to interpretation. Does a little cold qualify as being sick? What about a headache? Did you have a bout of the stomach flu or was it really food poisoning? Even the medical professional has trouble defining illness. A Swedish study published in October 2012 of 579 medical practitioners found that the majority had trouble assessing a patient’s level of illness when certifying them for a leave of absence. If doctors have trouble defining illness, then what can be expected from the everyday person? Despite the challenges that this question poses, it is still a good way of measuring the state of your health. The underlying wisdom is that healthier people tend to get sick less often. This is something that is unlikely to change.
Taking good care of your body doesn’t address the whole issue of well being. According to the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It’s a definition they’ve been using since 1948, and there’s no indication that it’s about to change. The mental aspect of a person’s health is closely related to their physical well-being. It’s interesting to note that the very first question on the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Stress Index Test is, “Do you frequently neglect your diet?” Eating, mental health and physical health all appear to be interrelated. So a reduction in stress can result in a corresponding increase in physical health. Granted, mental stress level is another subjective criterion that can be difficult to establish but is still worth investigating due to its close relationship to physical well being.
The human body is a complex interaction between mental and physical activities. Fatigue and decreased energy are two physical signs of a depressed mental state, as indicated by the National Institute of Mental Health. Though there are no simple answers to the physical/mental relationship, the Mayo Clinic asserts that regular physical activity boosts energy and improves your mood. Your energy level, however subjective it may appear, is another good indicator of your overall state of health. Regular physical exercise has been shown to increase stamina over time. Consistency is the key to achieving this result. In this case, a little exercise on a regular basis goes further than a lot of sporadic workouts.
Sports scientist John Brewer says that it’s better to be overweight and exercise than to be underweight and inactive. Shortness of breath, often described as an intense tightening of the chest, can be brought on by strenuous exercise. The heart and lungs are muscles that transport oxygen to body tissue. Exercise helps to increase their capacity to perform. Thus, the distance you can run without getting exhausted is even more important than the number you see on your scale. Again, the question is open to interpretation but intuitively most people can sense how quickly they are getting winded.
A good habit is something that can stay with you for your entire life as part of your routine. Eating moderate proportions of healthy foods, exercising routinely and getting proper rest are just some of the habits that contribute to a healthier lifestyle. The more good habits you practice, the better your chance to stay fit and healthy. A habit is something that you do on a routine basis, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. Add up all of the good things you do on a regular basis for your physical and mental health. Compare that to a year ago to see if you’ve improved.