Defining-Physical-Health

Defining Physical Health

Physical health is critical for overall well-being and is the most visible of the various dimensions of health, which also include social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and environmental health. Some of the most obvious and serious signs that we are unhealthy to appear physically. Addressing this dimension is crucial for anyone attempting to sustain overall health and wellness.

Defining Physical Health

Traditional definitions of physical health prior to the onset of modern medicine would have considered someone physically healthy if he or she was not stricken with a serious illness. With modern medical innovations came longer life spans, which changed the way we define physical health. Today’s definition can consider everything ranging from the absence of disease to fitness level.

While physical health consists of many components, here is a brief list of the key areas that should be addressed:

Physical activity

Includes strength, flexibility, and endurance

Nutrition and diet

Includes nutrient intake, fluid intake, and healthy digestion

Alcohol and drugs

Includes the abstinence from or reduced consumption of these substances

Medical self-care

Includes addressing minor ailments or injuries and seeking emergency care as necessary

Rest and sleep

Includes periodic rest and relaxation, along with high-quality sleep

Components of Physical Health

Below are ways that each key area of physical health can be addressed through lifestyle choices:

Physical activity

Most healthy children and adults should be active on a daily basis. This should be a mix of both leisurely physical activity and structured exercise. Leisurely physical activity includes hiking, biking, and walking. Structured exercise includes strength training, running, and sports.

Nutrition and diet

A well-balanced diet should contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Restricting specific nutrients should only be done under the supervision of a health professional. Fluid, ideally in the form of clean water, should be regularly consumed. Meals and snacks should be consumed throughout the day, and portion sizes should be sensible.

Alcohol and drugs

Substances that alter mood or other bodily processes should be limited or avoided. Those with addictive tendencies or other health risks should consider complete abstinence from these substances.

Medical self-care

Basic items, such as bandages, lozenges, and over-the-counter pain-relieving medications, should be easily accessible from home. Long-term coughing, fevers, or other ailments should be addressed through primary care. Emergency treatment should be sought when signs and symptoms are significant or life-threatening.

Rest and sleep

While regular activity is essential for physical health, allowing the body to rest is just as important. Spending time relaxing or taking short naps can help rejuvenate the body. Sleep should take place in a quiet, dark environment and should last approximately 7-9 hours.

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