What is health?

I have been working in the fitness industry for 10 years now & what is health\healthy? How can I be healthier? Or words to the meaning of, is something I get asked on most days. It comes up in conversation frequently and has been a personal quest of mine since I was a child, so what is health??

Everybody’s perception of health is completely different, the reason for that is we are all different. Our different personalities mean that we will always hold something more important to us than somebody else does.

These are my own take and thoughts on health or what it is to be healthy.

Being involved in sport from an early age I used to think that health was in a physical form, how strong, how quick, how good you looked. Number one!!

After years of denial and finally coming to terms with my own depression and head space, I realised this is another big part of someones health. Number two!!

For years I’ve been fascinated about food, moving on to studying nutrition for my own health benefits, nutrition is a huge part of my job and everyone’s lives. Number 3!!

I would break health down into 3 simple categories. I’ve put them in the order which I feel is most important.

1) mental health

2) nutritional health

3) physical health

Mental Health – is talked about more now than ever before & understanding your head and head space is one of the most difficult things to do. Some people will never get there as it takes a huge amount of honesty which is so hard to do. I am still slowly understanding myself and I feel it will be a constant battle that’s forever changing.

There is still a huge taboo when it comes to head space and the sign of weakness (untrue!!) that goes with it. For myself, I have been in some terribly dark places with mainly suicidal thoughts since a teenager & after spending hours in therapy, I think to try and know yourself, understand yourself and then except yourself,  is part of the journey towards a happier head space.

If you don’t struggle then you are one of the lucky ones, be grateful for that. If sometimes you do struggle, put whatever you need to in place and be kind to yourself. It is a journey and there is no right answer, try different things to find what works for you.

Cold showers are a must for me as you will know if you read my last blog, talking is also a strength that people overlook, along with good nutrition and regular exercise. These all  together help with head space.

Nutritional Health – we are bombarded with nutritional info on a daily basis, some of which is ok but most of it is often exaggerated or based on hearsay, so what is healthy nutrition??

This is such a huge subject to sum up in a paragraph and is nearly impossible, what works for me doesn’t work for everybody, as we are all so uniquely different. Finding a diet that works well for your body, tastes good and something you’ll enjoy is hard.

Temptation is everywhere but education is the key, the more you know the better you are equipped to make good and bad choices. Over the last 2 years my understanding has grown hugely.

To make it as simple as I can I would say eat less meat, have a few veggie days, try and eat more veg of various colours each day (10 portions = 800g daily), cook from fresh as much as possible, eat more seeds, avoid packet food as much as possible (if you can’t tell what it was to start with it’s not food), & drink more water.

Over the last 2 years I’ve been working with the nutritional experts at checkyourfood.com. if you are keen to understand the food you put in your body check out their site, it’s full of info that you will find amazing. Remember :- You are what you eat  – both good and bad.

Physical Health – Put simply everybody should move, I’m not saying you should get up and run 10km every morning or be smashing the gym 3 times a day. Our bodies are bio-mechanical machines, & if you don’t move it you will lose it.

I think everybody should take their own bodies and joints through their full range of movement under resistance 2-3 times a week. Your body will love you for this.

Mobility and strength are the key. The more mobile you are and stronger you are the easier getting around this planet will be. Independence is the greatest freedom we possess, take that away you might as well be locked in a cell. The more you move especially as you get older the more independent you will be.

In one sentence; health is being able to walk around comfortably, free from pain with the ability to recover from illness quickly.

We should all think of maintaining and enhancing our Mental Health, Nutritional Health and Physical Health, as investing in a Health pension.

The more you deposit now the better your return later. Every conversation about your head, every nutritious meal and every training session you are putting deposits into your health account, so you can reap the benefits when you’re older.

Don’t wait till it’s too late. Start investing now because without your health you have nothing.


Iain Jackson – Professional boxer and PT

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