To have a good health and good quality of life means different things to different people. How do we define these concepts? Are health and quality of life related and what can we do to improve both?
In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health with a phrase that modern authorities still apply:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Although they changed their definition in the eighties, we believe that this definition comes close to Supernormal’s definition of health, with the add-on of cognitive function.
There are of course other types of health; spiritual, emotional, and financial health also contribute to overall health, and medical experts have linked these to lower stress levels and improved mental and physical well-being. And people with better financial health may worry less about finances and they also often have more time to spend on their health.
We think it is important to approach health as a whole, rather than as a series of separate factors. All types of health are linked, and people should aim for overall well-being and balance as the keys to good health. The definition of peak health is highly individual, as are the steps a person may take to get there. Every person has different health goals and a variety of ways to achieve them.
So, how can we improve our health? Well, the good news is that it is doable for almost everyone. You just have to give it some time and effort. Let us look at the biggest contributors to a better health:
A lot of people are looking for a longevity hack, a drug or supplement or superfood that will help us live healthier, longer lives. It turns out we already have one. “Exercise is by far the most potent longevity ‘drug,’” says Peter Attia, M.D., a surgeon turned physician who focuses on extending health span. “The data are unambiguous: Exercise not only delays actual death but also prevents both cognitive and physical decline better than any other intervention. It is the single most potent tool we have in the health-span-enhancing toolkit—and that includes nutrition, sleep, and meds.”
We couldn’t agree more. Exercise contributes to so many processes in the body, and the benefits are enormous for your health.
We will not go through all the diets that are out there, we will just state that nutrition is one of the pillars of good health. And that too much or too little is not good for you. Obesity brings a lot of problems with it, and under nourishing can as well. Eating a lot of vegetables and fruit is almost a universal truth, and 90% of men eats too little of both, so leveling up the intake of those would be a great start. And if you at the same time try to eat less sugar and less processed food, you are already in the top 10% of men out there.
Sleep is one of the most important things people can prioritize to enhance their overall well-being. “Sleep is crucial for physical and mental health, and chronic sleep deprivation can have a wide range of negative effects, from impaired cognitive function to increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease” says Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Indeed, the effects of sleep deprivation can be severe. Chronic sleep deficit has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early death. Lack of sleep has also been shown to impair cognitive function, including memory, attention, and decision-making. Aim for 7-9 hours per night, that’s the sweet spot.
We all know what it feels like to be stressed. Stress is a natural response to challenging or overwhelming situations, and it can have both short-term and long-term effects on our health and well-being. While some level of stress can be motivating and help us perform better in certain situations, chronic or unmanaged stress can lead to various health problems, including anxiety, depression, weight gain and sleep problems.
Try to recognize the signs of chronic stress and take steps to manage and reduce stress levels as much as you can. You only have one life, don’t let stress shorten it.
The benefits of social connections are numerous. Proven links include lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, and greater empathy. Strong, healthy relationships can also help to strengthen your immune system, help you recover from disease, and may even lengthen your life.
What’s more, the benefits of social ties are significant, even if your other mortality risk factors (such as smoking, drinking, obesity and lack of physical activity) are low. In other words, even if you live a healthy life, you still need to be socially active to stay well and happy.
It’s important to recognise that loneliness is different from solitude. Feeling lonely is a problem but being alone may not be a problem at all. Many people live alone and have happy, fulfilling lives.
So there you have it; try to up your game in one bucket, or all of them, and you will reap the benefits of better health. And remember to have fun along the way, that might be the best advice we can give you.