A healthy mind in a healthy body

Maintaining physical health

Developing and maintaining healthy habits

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People tend to have strong feelings about maintaining their health, and not everyone is in favor of it.

Though few people actually seek out illness or try to physically harm themselves, many people (and especially men) are casual about their health, and are willing to take chances. People in this risk-taking group sometimes indulge themselves in unhealthy behavior (getting or staying overweight, consuming unhealthy food and drink, smoking, taking drugs, not getting exercise), sometimes are neglectful of routine and easy preventive measures (taking vitamins, getting an annual physical, scheduling cancer screenings), or both.

Such choices manifest a willingness to sacrifice some length of life for the quality of life benefit of being self-indulgent and “enjoying life to the full,” but what happens in most cases is a loss of quality of life as well. Things we get away with when we are younger, or that our bodies might endure for a limited period of time, start exacting a toll. We smoke for too long, and our lungs lose capacity, we cough all the time, our skin dries and wrinkles. We drink too much and we start to lose liver function and, what may be more conspicuous, brain function. We eat the wrong foods or avoid exercise and so we gain weight, and we feel lethargic and under-the-weather almost all the time. We avoid doctors and we come down with illnesses that could have been prevented, and we get the pain, expense, inconvenience, and often the permanent partial disabilities that go with them.

At the same time, people who are constantly focused on their own health are generally considered out of balance as well, and this itself is a diagnosable illness. So it is not really a question of which extreme you want to adopt, but rather, it’s a question of balance: exhibiting at least some discipline concerning your behavior, taking reasonable steps to prevent illness or to diagnose it early on, and to treat new ailments quickly when they arise – preferably without becoming fanatical about it.

Maintaining Physical Health relates to other areas of Health:

Maintaining Physical Health relates to other areas besides Health:

Maintaining Physical Health Sub-Topics and Resources

For information about specific exercise options, as well as other physical activities that will provide exercise although their principal purpose might be something else, check out the references to the Avocation section, under “See also,” below.

In addition to germs, which have been around forever, these days we are surrounded also by chemicals that are known to be harmful, or whose effects are not fully understood. Age and illness can decrease the ability of our immune systems to fight off such threats, but there are easy ways to reduce our exposure to them.