Have you heard the news…
- Sporting icon, Sourav Ganguly, suffers a cardiac arrest and undergoes emergency surgery at 48
- BMW India’s young CEO, Rudratej Singh, passed away after a cardiac arrest at 47
- SAP India CEO and marathon runner Ranjan Das died after a massive heart attack at 42
All three were super fit.
So what went wrong? Why did they and many others like them who despite being fit suffer bad health consequences?
Isn’t being fit the same as being healthy?
In this article, we will explore the difference between being Fit and being Healthy, and what it takes for you to stay Healthy.
Health = Fitness?
When we read such news reports, suddenly this feeling of impending doom descends on each of us thinking- this could have been me. I am relatively young, reasonably fit, and yet people like me seem to, for inexplicable reasons, be getting impacted.
Health is basically about the body working well and not being sick. Health is also about having lower susceptibility to getting an ailment. Good health needs various processes like metabolism, cellular health, immunity, etc. to be working well in our body.
Fitness, on the other hand, is the ability of our body to deal with our daily tasks with vigour and alertness. Good fitness includes – our cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, balance, and flexibility – and we need to have a regimen of exercise and daily physical activity to improve our fitness levels.
Health and Fitness are two separate, albeit related states.
You could be fit and yet unhealthy.
If we take an elite sportsperson, they are surely in a state of prime fitness. Having said that, depending on other factors and choices they make, they could still have various biological processes that are not working well taking them towards a state of not being healthy. While the common belief is that if one is fit, one should necessarily be healthy, this is not always the case.
A lot of factors contribute to having a state of good health. While fitness is definitely one of them, it’s not the only one. There are other factors that could prevail and take you towards bad health. Improper and imbalanced nutrition, inadequate sleep, high levels of stress to name a few.
Good Health, Bad Health (with or without being fit)
Good health is characterized by your body’s ability to not fall sick. So then how do I reduce the probability of falling sick, you might ask!
It is a combination of multiple things –
- Your various bodily engines must be humming.
- Your cells should be shiny, happy people holding hands and going about their work.
- Your inner army, navy and air-force should be primed for action – available, trained, equipped, and ready to ward off unwanted invaders.
To be in this state, you need to be supplying the right quantity and quality of training and weaponry (fuel and other raw materials) to the various platoons of your body. Your army also needs the right nutritionally rich rations, their daily quota of exercise and in equal measure rest, the armament factories must be working well to produce the various weaponry in adequate quantities. The factories need the input material to come in at the right levels to work at their best throughput.
This essentially translates to the right nutrients being provided to your cells and tissues and organs and the entire body to ensure your metabolism is working well, your cells are healthy, and immunity and other defense mechanisms are strong.
Now, if choices you make that impact the above are wrong, you start heading towards bad health. Not necessarily any specific “disease” but towards a state of vulnerability that can make it easy to have a problem –
- Hormonal imbalances could occur.
- The health of your cells is at risk.
- The immune response could weaken
While you could be continuing to exercise and stay fit, the above could still be happening and taking you towards a bad state of health.
How do I know my state of health?
Much before we get diagnosed by any specific “disease” or illness, there are ample things that start going wrong in our body’s functioning and there are early warning signs (Read more) to detect the same. It is very important to listen to and pay heed to these signs –
- A state of chronic inflammation is a signal from your body that all is not well.
- Hormonal instability, primarily insulin resistance, takes us down a path leading to multiple bad outcomes.
- Falling prey to seasonal allergies or getting ill frequently are again signs to keep an eye on that signify a weakened immunity.
- Visceral fat (fat deposits around your internal organs) is again an early warning sign.
There are ways to measure and track each of the above and other such early warning signs. However, this is seldom done. And one typically does not have a sense for their underlying state of health and continues on in life with an illusion of good health while it could be slowly deteriorating invisibly.
So what’s the root cause of bad health?
Our body is a super complex biological machine that needs various components to keep it well-tuned. Any ongoing imbalance on either the glut or the deficiency side of these components could impact the functioning of this machine.
- Dietary imbalances: It could be more carbohydrate driven glucose than you need to more protein than you need or less of high-quality fat.
- Nutrient imbalances: It could be a shortage or a glut of Iron. It could be more Calcium than you need without the counterbalance of Magnesium, or Sodium without adequate Potassium. Maybe overload of pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fats compared to the anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s. Maybe a deficiency in your Vitamin A/B/C/D/E/K etc.
- Gut microbiome imbalances: We need the right mix of beneficial bacteria in our gut for us to take full advantage of the nutrients that we eat and to also strengthen our immunity. However, this could be depleted due to: Inadequate fibre, not having adequate fermented food, lack of variety of vegetables and fruits in our diet, overuse of processed food, an antibiotic treatment we took etc.
- Lifestyle imbalances: We might not be sleeping well or might be under chronic stress or not aligning various activities with our body’s Circadian rhythm. Or just not physically active enough.
These are all essential ingredients needed to tune and calibrate the complex biological machine the human body is. If we do not understand and take care of these, the chances that we will head towards bad health and eventually disease are very high.
It is important to understand and accept that just because you feel and look “Fit” does not necessarily mean you are “Healthy”. While fitness (both physical and mental) is definitely necessary, you must remember that this is just one stepping-stone towards better health. Becoming healthy and then staying healthy is indispensable to carefree life and needs to be addressed in a holistic way across multiple dimensions –
Step 1: Understand the state of your health and proactively identify any early warning signs or risks.
Step 2: Work towards fixing these warning signs.
Well, might not be as simple. This is where LiveAltlife could help.
LiveAltlife’s solutions can not only help you assess your state of risk but also enable you to get to better health outcomes with solutions that are multi-vectorial in nature and encompass nutritional science, physical and mental fitness sciences, cross-functional experts, advanced diagnostics etc. and packaged keeping your convenience and ease of adoption at the very core.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog, or any linked materials, are not intended & should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult a certified healthcare professional in case of a medical concern.
Take advantage of our “Smart Risk Assessment” to get a snapshot of your current state of health and risk. The assessment is followed by consultations with LiveAltlife health experts with advice on the best path for you to improve your state of health. LiveAltlife experts include Doctors, Physiotherapists, Nutritionists, Dieticians, Counsellors etc.