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Isn’t good health just a slower rate at which to die?

Good health does help us live longer, but it also helps us to live a more active and happier life by feeling good in our minds and bodies.

old men that are very healthy body builders

Good health does help us live longer, but it also helps us to live a more active and happier life by feeling good in our minds and bodies. We also call this ‘wellbeing’. Wellbeing is important for lots of reasons. Physical wellbeing means having a strong heart and lungs, bones and muscles. We can feel physically well by eating well, sleeping well and being active. Being physically well helps us to do all the simple daily activities that many of us take for granted (forget we can do) including walking, running, going upstairs, being able to wash and dress ourselves and cook our own meals.  This also means being more independent and not needing help from others. Physical health also makes it easier to do fun activities like sports and games.
Mental wellbeing means feeling good in your mind, and gives you good concentration (focus), memory, and mood (feeling happy). Mental wellbeing is important because it can help us feel more able to deal with difficult situations, stress and worries. If we are physically and mentally well we are also more likely to be able to have good relationships with our friends and family, and feel less isolated and alone. 
 

Bad health is caused by having one or more health problems. Some common health problems which make life more challenging are heart and lung illnesses or muscle and bone illnesses like arthritis. For example, there is a rare illness called ‘Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis’ (or ‘JIA’) which can affect young people and cause joints like knees and hips to swell and stiffen. Although people with JIA can live a long life, they have problems with walking, feeling tired, not being able to go to school or do sports. You can read the story of a young person called Amelie with JIA on the Great Ormond Street website to learn more about how the illness affects her and the research and medicines which can help.

 

The National Health Service (NHS) recommends five top tips for wellbeing:

  1. Connect with people- good relationships help you feel good about yourself and allow you to help others. Try visiting a friend or family member who needs support or company. 
  2. Be active and look after physical health- being active helps you feel happier and more confident. Try a sport like running, swimming or cycling.   
  3. Learn something new and get creative- this can help your confidence and help you to make new friends. Try a new hobby like painting.
  4. Be kind- being kind helps you feel more connected to others and helps you feel good about yourself. Try saying thank you to someone who has done something for you. 
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)- this can help you enjoy the world around you more and make you feel more relaxed. Try mindful eating by eating a meal without distractions (switch off the TV and your phone) and concentrate on what the food looks, smells and tastes like. 

 

Activities:

  1. Which top tip is your favourite and why?
  2. Read more about mental wellbeing here: https://www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/
  3. Read more about physical wellbeing here: https://www.nhs.uk/healthier-families/activities/