By Gitanjali Marcelline
Often one hears this expression “Health is Wealth” especially from physical trainers and doctors. Before we find out the reason why, let’s define the terms ‘health’ and ‘wealth’.
Health, in the Oxford Dictionary, is defined as a ‘physical condition’, ‘wellbeing’, healthiness’, ‘strength’, ‘vigour’ and ‘shape’. Robustness is what comes to mind when one generally refers to the physical condition of a person. The same way, fitness means being in good condition. When one enquires after your “wellbeing”, he or she wants to know how happy you are – whether comfortable, secure and safe.
Healthiness is determined by a person’s fitness. To be strong requires power and concentration. To gain vigour, one needs to be energetic, dynamic and enthusiastic. Good health also means being in good shape and maintaining your form or figure with regular exercise, diet and rest.
Whereas, wealth is defined as ‘riches’, ‘prosperity’, ‘affluence’, ‘means’, ‘assets’, ‘capital’, ‘possessions’, ‘material goods’, ‘worldly goods’, ‘funds’, ‘treasure’, ‘fortune’, ‘resources’ and ‘holdings’.
To be prosperous is to have wealth and success. Being in comfortable or privileged circumstances or having material comfort can only be possible through wealth. The means by which you gain wealth is through income such as earnings, funds or capital.
Wealth can also be measured by way of assets, particularly property. When one refers to material or worldly goods, it basically means riches. Wealth is also determined by the amount of funds, particularly money, one has. Treasure in the form of jewels, gold and silver is also considered wealth.
For some, luck has had a role to play in gaining a fortune, and being considered wealthy. A few of the developed countries have resources in the form of reserves and ensure a steady supply.
Now that we’ve defined the words health and wealth let’s see why they say health is wealth. They do because it is only good health that can makes one wealthy. If you are sick, you wouldn’t be able to work and earn, would you? If all you earned were spent on doctors and medicines, would you be wealthy? Is sickness worth the time and money spent on doing the wrong things? That’s why it is recommended that one maintains a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate rest and sleep
But nowadays, one finds children leading a sedentary lifestyle, playing computer games, social networking and watching DVDs until late at night unlike earlier days when children used to spend a great deal of time outdoors, playing. Adults are no better when it comes to their lifestyles. They too spend an inordinate amount of time seated at the computer, work late, and are back to the grind early the following day – all for the sake of ‘wealth and ‘prosperity’.
Some may argue that all that’s in order to keep themselves and their families comfortable, secure and safe. But what they don’t realize is that they are unwittingly damaging their health and in the process affecting the security of their families. As the sole breadwinner of the family, they have a bounden duty to stay healthy without getting sick or dying. It’s up to the family also not to make too many demands from the breadwinner. They should encourage and support him/her to lead a healthy lifestyle. That includes regular exercise, eating healthy and getting adequate rest.
For exercising the body, start with a daily walk, or take up a hobby like gardening or dance lessons, or travel. To exercise your brain, you can practice writing, read daily, play board games, take classes, listen to music (preferably classical music), learn to meditate and pray. Daily prayer appears to help your immune system. And those who attend formal worship services regularly are said to live longer and live happier, healthier lives.
As for eating healthy, eat more foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, and tuna. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables mop up some of the damage caused by free radicals, one of the leading killers of brain cells.
And importantly, eat at least one meal a day with family and friends. Last but not the least, get enough sleep. Studies have shown a link between interrupted sleep and dementia.
So, as you can see, there’s much to the term “health is wealth’.