Health is described as an optimum state of physical and mental well-being. Everybody wants to achieve and maintain this optimum state but there is a lot that affects it. There are various factors that affect your total health.
In this post, we also discuss how these factors affect different aspects of our health and what we can do to control these factors for a healthy living.
Diet and eating habits influence your total health directly. Numerous studies and research reports show how good food choices can impact health positively while poor diets have negative long-term health effects. How we feel depends much on what we eat.
Your diet can influence your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Experts recommend following a healthy eating plan that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and unprocessed foods.
A healthy diet also includes eggs, lean meat, fish, poultry and nuts. It limits the intake of processed fats and sugars.
Those who include healthy food options in their everyday diet have reduced risks of chronic diseases. However, modern diets largely contain saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, processed foods and added sugars.
Such a diet, in combination with large portions, stress and sedentary lifestyle, can increase obesity and related health issues deteriorating your total health.
Dietary stressors like coffee, alcohol, tobacco, oils and sugars also affect how healthy you stay. However, health education programs have started catching attention and people are making changes to their diet and eating habits to benefit their health.
Another essential factor that influences one’s total health is activity. It consists of exercise, rest and sleep. Just like diet, you can take control of your activity to stay healthy. Moderate to intense physical activity involves the body systems to work hard. The body becomes efficient and strong in response to the demands of the systems.
Some of the most important benefits of exercise include increased strength of muscle and bones, improved metabolism, better lung capacity, improved sleep, reduced stress, efficient cardiac function and more.
Regular moderate exercise that involves different muscles of the body can provide these benefits vital to good total health.
Regular aerobic exercise like swimming, jogging, bike riding and others can work your bigger muscles and keep your body healthy. Exercise can become effective and enjoyable when made a part of a regular routine and treated as a recreational activity.
Apart from regular exercise, proper sleep is also vital to good health. Inadequate sleep can negatively affect the immune system and causes depression.
The body heals itself during sleep. It is important to focus on the quality and quantity of sleep to attain benefits and wake up refreshed and active.
The environment also influences an individual’s total health but it is often ignored because it seems to be beyond control. However, sometimes, the environment alone can trigger health problems in a person with a genetic risk of disease. Both, the physical environment as well as the socio-economic environment play an important role.
It is important to control these factors to obtain and maintain optimal health. A health-promoting physical environment is made up of clean and pure air and water with sufficient sunshine. It is free of stressors like toxic elements and noise.
The social and economic environment of a person includes his social culture, his financial condition and community. A person with a good socioeconomic status is likely to remain healthy as he gets a good education and can afford proper healthcare when needed.
People with a low status in society experience daily stress due to unemployment or financial crisis, thus having poor health. Cultural factors can also impact health. Customs and traditions in society and the person’s response to them can have a positive or negative influence on the total health.
A person’s psychological well-being is an important part of total health. Mental health is as vital as physical health and refers to an individual’s social, emotional and psychological wellness.
Good mental health does not only mean the absence of psychological issues like anxiety, depression and stress but also depends on the person’s ability to feel safe and secure, handle difficult life experiences, adapt to adverse times, and reach full potential.
Physical and mental health are dependent on each other. A chronic physical illness, for example, affects the person’s everyday life and leads to stress. On the other hand, depression or any other psychological problem can affect the body’s function.
Your attitude towards life has a big influence on your total health. If you have a negative outlook and thinking, your emotional health becomes poor and you can suffer from depression, affecting your physical health as well.
This factor can be controlled to make sure you enjoy optimum total health. You can choose to adopt a positive attitude towards life. If you are somebody who always thinks negatively, you can try changing the attitude with some efforts or with the help of a counsellor.
Some diseases can be passed down to you from your family members. This happens through genes that you inherit from your parents.
Changes in genes, or mutations, sometimes make no difference while can sometimes cause problems called genetic disorders. However, genetics don’t lead to diseases and problems by themselves. They are often caused by a combination of your genetics, your environment and your lifestyle choices.
Mutations can either be inherited or can happen during life. These mutations can include environmental effects like ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Such mutations can deteriorate your health with serious problems. Conditions like diabetes and health issues are caused by a combination of genes, lifestyle and environmental factors.
While you cannot change your genetics, you can certainly control other factors that work with genes to affect your health negatively. You can take appropriate steps to prevent diseases, lower your risk of developing health problems and find the issues early to get effective treatment.
Maintaining an optimum state of health requires an ongoing effort. It is important that we identify the requirements of health and provide what the body needs to stay healthy. We must also identify the stressors that can compromise our total health and make efforts to minimize their influence. Understanding these factors and their influence can help us formulate strategies to maintain optimum total health.