As one of the most active gyms in the Myrtle Beach area, our instructors and members tend to be more fit and lean. However, we understand that your physical physique isn’t the most telling sign of good health. Of course, it can indicate that you take more time for physical fitness, but you also need to focus on the other aspects of your health to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle.

Being healthy used to mean having low cholesterol, a thin physique for women, and a muscular body for men. We now have a better understanding of what it means to have a healthy body and have many different paths to preventing chronic illnesses associated with high cholesterol and being overweight.

The scientists at the Mayo Clinic discovered that more than half of their research subjects with normal weights and BMIs had “high body-fat percentages as well as heart and metabolic disturbances.” So the subjects with ‘normal weights and BMIs’ had the same risks of coronary diseases, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses typically associated with obesity as the subjects that weighed significantly more.

In fact, if you are skinny, but metabolically obese, you actually have twice the risk of death than if you are an overweight diabetic.

So what does it mean to be healthy?

You can break down physical health into two sections: Structural Health and Chemical Health. Structural health is associated with your height/weight ratio, BMI, resting heart rate, and recovery time after physical activity. It refers to your bones, muscles, organs, etc. Chemical health relates to your natural chemical makeup, tissues containing nutrients, and anything chemically you might add. Imbalanced chemicals often increase the risk of cancer.

Good physical health means a structurally and chemically healthy body.

What can you do to become physically healthy?

While much of this may sound like a broken record, we often lose sight of what our body really needs when we begin to focus on one aspect of our lives. Many of us concentrate on losing weight or gaining muscle in particular areas. We might work hard to stay physically active while indulging in unhealthy eating habits. While eating ‘clean’ is ideal and great for our chemical health, neglecting physical activity even when incorporating clean eating will damage our structural health.

You’ve heard it over and over again, but the fact remains that health is determined by your lifestyle.

Here are 4 things you can do to become physically healthy:

  • SLEEP! Regardless of your age or schedule, make sure you’re getting the sleep your body needs. There is no magic number dictating the amount of sleep you need, though the National Sleep Foundation suggests adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. To determine the amount of sleep you need, write down how you feel after getting different amounts of sleep without the help of stimulants like caffeine.
  • Make sure you’re incorporating healthy foods into your diet like lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit, and non-gluten grains and avoiding damaging foods made with MSG, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and other chemicals. Also eliminate sodas, juices, and sweetened drinks and keep your alcohol consumption down to a max of 3-4 glasses of wine/alcohol a week.
  • Cardio and strength training are vital to structural health. Cardio builds fitness and improves your metabolism, which also affects your chemical health. Strength training builds and repairs muscles and improves your overall health. If you’re unsure of where to start with cardio or strength training or would just like to improve your training efficiency, consult a skilled and experienced physical trainer.
  • Start your day with a protein and a supplement. A good multivitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D can help improve your metabolism and balance blood sugar. Beginning your day with protein and incorporating it into each meal also helps your metabolism run strong.

You can be skinny, toned, or built and still be considered unhealthy if you’re not paying attention to all the aspects of your physical health. While it’s important to maintain a healthy weight, you need to consider the other facets of your lifestyle to ensure you’re doing everything you can to remain physically healthy for the sake of your overall health and quality of life.