In todays world, health is a term that is heavily controversial. There are so many debates as to what constitutes itself as ‘health’ and it is an ever changing phenomenon due to new discoveries, experiments, scientific evidence and own personal opinion.

Thats why I want to ask you, what is health to YOU? I know what it means to me, but that may not necessarily be the same as what it means to you. So, this is where we begin – it is so important to remember that there is no rule book to health, there is no road that takes us to the final destination. Health is, and will always be something that is acquired to ones own beliefs, morals, values and where they are at, in their life at the time. The meaning of health will constantly change as you go through the different phases of your life, when you are in your teenage years it may mean something completely different to you as to when you would be pregnant or fighting an illness.

The meaning of health should always be relevant to what you are wanting to achieve out of life. Whether that be to lose a few kgs or to prevent yourself from developing diseases as you get older and maintaining who you are now.

Health is NOT only based around fitness and intense activity. Health is so much more then that and thats what I want to talk about today; health but not in relation to exercise. I want to talk about health in relation to the inner workings of the body because you can assume fit and healthy on the outside but you have to understand that it all begins on the inside.

Photo by Ross Walker

Gut health

I am almost sure you have heard the word ‘gut health’ been thrown around somewhere in this cyber world. You may have a good understanding of what it is or you may not, either way one of the main things you need to know is that it is important!

Good gut health impacts many things such as; gastrointestinal fitness, immune fitness, emotional health, cognitive functioning and your energy thus it is crucial in maintaining overall good body health. A healthy gut contains bacteria and immune cells that ward off many infectious diseases, help fight illness and even fungi. A healthy gut = a healthy digestive system. Good gut health helps to keep a balance between organs and hormones inside your body, which in turn will affect your health and well-being. So it is clear to say that your gut health influences your mental health and vice versa. When you have a balanced gut it is known as something called ‘equilibrium’, this is where the poor bacteria don’t have space to grow and and the good bacteria pave the way for them to do their jobs, ie. digest foods and ward off the evil.

The sad reality though, is that because we have easy access to fast food chains and that there is economic and pandemic stress it is easier and more common to find those living an unbalanced and sedentary life. Thus, in turn poor gut health is becoming more and more common in people.

Everything in your body is interdependent, meaning that everything influences each other one way or another. Thats why it is important to look after your inner-self just as much as your outer-self. So if your gut health is out of whack, so will how you feel, your well-being, mental health. You’ll feel lethargic and have digestive issues, maybe even symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating. These are all signs of an unhealthy gut. I would encourage you to be aware of how your body feels after eating food, pay attention to what you put into your body, notice if you are eating whole foods that are full of anti-oxidants, taking your daily vitamin C and omegas to look after your gut or are you eating greasy food that is cheap, mass produced and gives you temporary satisfaction which in turn contributes to the discomfort you may be experiencing. What you put into your body plays a major role in how your body functions which in turn will affect how you feel mentally and physically.

Photo by Ross Walker

Mental health

I am an avid contender of mental health, as someone who has been into health and fitness for many years – I will always tell you that mental health should always become before physical health. Yes, there are known benefits of physical health improving your mental health but mental health is so much more then just dropping some squats, getting a jog in and calling it a day. Mental health is where you live, its the voice inside of your head constantly telling you, you can or can’t do it. Mental health is all about inner healing and constant self-development. It is wanting to work on you for the respect and love you have for yourself and your mind, to live a life where you never feel like you can’t achieve something.

Working on your mind is one of the most powerful and healthiest things you could do for yourself and I strongly encourage you to do it. There is no better feeling then waking up in the morning excited and inspired for the day to come, trust me because I have felt the opposite many of a time.

When I experienced one of the darker times of my life; I dwelled on everything, I felt sorry for myself, I threw many pity parties where the only person who showed up was myself. Until one day I realised that was just it, It is always going to be me at the end of the day, I am the only one who knows how I feel exactly, what I am going though intently and I am the only one in control of how I am going to change MY life for MYself. Other people are going to carry on with their lives, yes, if you are lucky you have incredible people supporting you and backing you but they are also living their own life and going through their own tribulations – they aren’t fixated on how you are feeling 110% of the time so YOU need to for yourself. After everything, you owe it to yourself to do such a thing. You just need to believe that you are worthy of so much more, because you are. And if you think that there is nothing ‘more’ then I can tell you my friend, you are wrong and thats where self-development comes in.

Self-development is a whole other world. It opens your mind to new perspectives and opinions, it helps you to see things in a light you never thought possible, it reminds you to focus on the things that are truly worth focusing on and in the midst of it all, you tend to see how you created mountains out of molehills. It truly is an incredible hobby to begin and its never too late, no matter how old or how young – you know how the saying goes, better late than never.

Photo by Ross Walker

So I encourage you to focus on your health. Determine what it is exactly that health means to you and stick with it, make it your own. Work on that mindset, create amazing goals and get excited about life. It can only go up from here!

“You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move