I intend to live forever, or die trying.

~ Groucho Marx ~

Does Exercise Make You Healthy?

July 2nd, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 38 secs

Asking, “Does exercise make you healthy?” isn’t clearcut.

Today, asking, “Does exercise make you healthy?” is equivalent to asking, “Do we need air to breathe?” It seems like a no brainer. Or is it?

Integral to the question, “Does exercise make you healthy?” is one word that is incredibly hard to quantify: healthy. What does healthy mean? Well, immediately you might think of slim, athletic builds, or muscly physiques. But there’s more to being healthy than that, isn’t there?

For starters, there are degrees of athleticism that come into the equation. How much exercise, for example, is enough to make you healthy? A 30 minute walk every day? An hour or two? Or 3-4 hours in the gym every day?  Take it further and you could claim that Olympic athletes are the only true benchmark for health. But is that true?

What about considering health from a nutritional standpoint too? How important is food balance in the whole picture of health? Should our food be scientifically analyzed to justify its health giving properties? On top of that, what about the emotional benefits of food? Is that important? Or is it just a surface issue?

On a broad scale, how important are our feelings about life, relationships, and ourselves to the whole health concept? Can you see how asking a seemingly simple question like, “Does exercise make you healthy?” can be a complex subject to answer?

Not surprising the World Health Organization grappled with what healthy means too. Back in 1942, they came up with a definition: “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” While in recent times, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia describes healthy this way: “In humans, it is the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain.”

So back to the essential question: does exercise make you healthy? Based on these definitions: yes and no. “Yes,” for all the wonderful benefits regular physical activity gives. “No,” if the rest of a person’s life is a mess. Though this may seem academic, the next time you see an ad proclaiming you can be completely healthy, thanks to their miracle workout technique, you’ll know that’s only the half of it. Activity is important, but it’s only part of the story in helping you to be genuinely healthy.




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