Health = Happiness?

© Robert Pernell |

Hi there. It’s me. Sorry I kind of disappeared there…again. School started two weeks ago, and if I laid every page of assigned reading from biochemistry and anatomy/physiology end to end, they would circle the globe. OK, not really. But it feels like it! My nose is getting squashed from spending every evening and weekend stuck inside a fat textbook. Good thing this stuff is interesting.

Anyway, there’s been lots of things I’ve intended to write about, but time kept slipping away. Now that I’ve replaced my archaic, slow, decidedly non-mobile desktop PC with a cute, tiny, ever-so-portable netbook, I’ve got no excuses! So on with the show…

One of the reasons I am such an ardent advocate for being as healthy as possible (for myself, and for people in general) is that good health enriches life itself. When you are full of vim and vigor, the good, happy times can feel even better and the not-so-good, sad-scary-lonely times can be easier to bear because you are more physically resilient.

But being healthy does not make you happy. And the path to health can in fact make you decidedly unhappy, if you choose one that goes against your grain.

A study just published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine says that being physically fit and low on anxiety may help you live longer. Physical and mental fitness, in a nutshell. You can read a succinct article about the study here or the actual AJPM article here.

This really resonated with me, personally, because I’ve been on a bit of a wild ride this summer. First, I embarked on a path to better health and fitness that ended up making me really unhappy. I was so glad when those 14 weeks were over, I can’t even tell you. I got great results, yes, but nearly at the expense of my sanity! Not a trade off I’ll be making again, thanks very much.

Then, barely a week after finishing the transformation contest and reclaiming my life, I was in the hospital having surgery. Not a happy time, but boy was I happy that I was at my healthiest and fittest. It’s been a month since I got sliced into, and I am stunned at how smooth my recovery was. Yes, it slowed me down a bit and just now am I allowed to resume my normal variety of fitness activities, but I’m telling you, I had none of the problems I was warned to expect. Not one.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this last month about my bipolar summer, and what I could learn from my experience to help myself, and others be optimally, and sanely, healthy. I’ll be exploring those themes in detail this week. Now, back to biochem…