Health is not simply the absence of disease; it is the knowledge that your behaviours are leading you away from it rather than towards it.
Defining our Health
Simply defining health as "the absence of disease" is incomplete and dangerous as it ignores the fact that our health exists on a continuum. Every day we make choices that bring us closer to health or closer to sickness. For this reason, we work with the following definition of health:
"Increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains across our lifespan" courtesy of CrossFit Inc
Work capacity is our ability to do work, such as 30 squats or 40 step ups; doing yard work, or climbing up a flight of stairs.
Broad time is our ability to do work for a variety of times, such as a 4 minute sprint-type workout one day followed by a 30 minute conditioning piece the next; running to catch the bus, or walking to the store.
Modal domains is our ability to do different types of work, like deadlifts and pull ups one day and rowing or biking the next day; helping a friend move, or carrying your groceries into your home.
Lifespan ties our fitness into our health. The longer we maintain our fitness, the healthier we stay. Maintaining our fitness across our lifespan can be the difference between living independently or with assistance as we age. It can determine whether you spend your last 10 years in sickness or with your health.
The 5 Factors of Health
Courtesy of Ben Bergeron
There are so many factors that contribute to our ability to stay healthy. We focus on the following 5 because they positively impact our health and we have control over them right now!
1. Eat. Real food, not too much, mostly plants.
The food we eat directly impacts our health by contributing to or preventing cardiovascular disease, changing our hormones, changing our gut microbiome, and many other physiological processes.
2. Sleep. 7 - 9 hours every night.
Sleep precedes moving because of its overall effect on our health. Studies have shown that depriving healthy people of sleep (i.e. less than 7 hours per night) for one week can bring people close to prediabetic blood glucose values; however, after 2 nights of more than 7 hours of sleep blood glucose levels returned to normal.
3. Move. Train 3 - 5 times per week. Move more throughout your day.
Exercise to train functional movements across broad time and modal domains. Get up and move throughout your day (ideally every 30 minutes for 2 minutes). Our society is set up for sitting. We have to make an effort to move more.
4. Think. Work to avoid complaining, excuses and negative self-talk.
The power of positive thoughts is real! Looking at the positive side of situations rather than the negative can make developing healthy habits feel easier. For instance, replace "I have to workout" with "I get to workout"; the positive phrasing draws attention to the fact that we are healthy enough to exercise!
5. Connect. Build deep, meaningful relationships.
The more people we have in our lives to talk to and rely on, the better our health outcomes. Did you know a common factor in communities where people live to be 100 years old is community?
Improving Your Health
We know that adopting healthy habits can be difficult, and the amount of misinformation out there is overwhelming and confusing. Our goal is to provide you with a supportive space filled with reliable information that will empower you to take control of your health.
A large cohort study of over 122 thousand participants found that the risks associated with low cardiorespiratory fitness are greater than those associated with coronary artery disease, smoking, and diabetes.
The good news is that this means much of our health is within our control!