Besides my PB challenge updates I have been wanting to write about health. What is health and what does it mean to be healthy? Is it a number on a scale? Is it not taking hypertension or high cholesterol medicine? Is it how you look or how you feel? What really is health? The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in 1946 as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”I would agree that to be healthy encompasses the physical, mental, and social well-being, but really how can we determine if we are healthy or not? Interestingly enough I had my annual physical this morning and something that happens with every doctor’s visit happened which reminded me of a blog I wrote a few years ago titled Healthy on the Inside. So, instead of re-writing my thoughts, which occur each and every time I have a doctor’s visit, I am just going to recycle this blog, as it remains relevant.
Healthy on the Inside
This morning was like most other Sunday mornings; I started it off with a nice long run with my friend Megan. We look forward to these runs every week for several reasons and today on our run we actually spoke about how much we enjoy these weekend runs. Weekday workouts are typically rushed because you have some place to go afterwards (i.e. work) and even if you have sufficient time for the workout you most likely are mentally somewhere else, but we don’t typically have other plans that we make for Sundays besides a few things around the house (i.e. cooking, cleaning, laundry) and we plan to take it easy and rest. With that being said we are 100% (for the most part) in the run—we are not thinking about having to rush home to do something, but rather we are running, thinking about running, and even talking about running. Today in particular we spoke a lot about the fact that we don’t always love running, but the feeling you get afterwards, which is unbelievable, and this conversation is what gave me the idea to blog about it today.
I always joke that I have a love-hate relationship with running; there are times on the run that I hate it, but the way that it makes me feel is what I love the most. This is what brought Megan and I to talk about our resting heart rates. I will never forget going to a doctor a few years ago when I was training for a marathon and them asking me “are you a runner” after they took my heart rate. At first I thought “oh wow, I must look like a runner, and they are just making conversation”. It’s funny how we tend to forget that our physical activity not only makes us fit on the outside, but also makes us healthy on the inside. As you become more fit through exercise, your heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood and hence you have a lower resting heart rate. As silly as this may seem, I told Megan today that now every time I go to the doctor it is like a game and I get excited to know my heart rate. My lower heart rate is actually something that I have become proud of. I know that I run, my friends and family know that I run, but now achieving and maintaining a lower heart rate is proof to me that what I am doing is working. I am not just physically fit, but I am healthy. It is similar to the fit versus fat debate. Someone can be thin (and perhaps look fit) but are they really? Are they healthy? What we do to our bodies, in terms of exercise and diet, is what determines if we are healthy, not always a number on a scale. Also, being physically active and feeding your body with good nutrients not only makes you healthier but also makes you feel healthier. I feel healthy after I do my long runs; I think wow my body can do that- it is an amazing thing, but I also know that what I do to my body is what makes it possible to do just that. Don’t just aim to look healthy, be healthy on the inside as well and do your body a favor— go out and get moving!
PS. Today, after my doctor said all my vitals are good I of course had to ask exactly what my heart rate was. To no surprise, it still felt great to have a lower resting heart rate than the average person and for that reassurance that I AM healthy.