Definition of Healthy

Photo by:  Keilidh Ewan

Photo by: Keilidh Ewan

During the first semester of graduate school, a professor asked my small class how we defined community.  Many of us immediately mentioned something in relation to the physical address of our home.  However, this professor proposed to us that community means much more than an individual's physical address.  To your coworker, he or she might associate community with their religious affiliation.  To your grandparents, they might associate community with the group of friends they play cards with once a week.  Community means something different to everyone, yet, everyone is correct in their definition.


Over the last few weeks as I've gotten more into my job as a health coach, I've started to notice a similar reaction to the word healthy.  For some individuals, healthy simply means not having to take any prescribed medication. To others, it means being able to have enough energy after work to go home and play with their children.  Webster's Dictionary gives four definitions of the word healthy.

1 : free from disease or pain : enjoying health and vigor of body, mind, or spirit : well
2 : showing physical, mental, or emotional well-being : evincing health
3 : beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state : conducive to health
4 a : prosperous, flourishing
b : not small or feeble

To prove my point, I reached out to friends and family and asked one simple question:  What does healthy mean to you?  These individuals come from different backgrounds, fields of employment, and varying levels of education.  While we may all view the word healthy differently, I think it's important to understand and appreciate our varying viewpoints. 

Health is about your physical, emotional and mental state. Just because you are physically healthy, if you are constantly critical of yourself (and what your body looks like) then I don’t think that’s healthy. Yes, being healthy is about nourishing your body and treating it right, but it’s also about realizing that there is more to life than what you physically look like. It’s also about having a positive self image, self confidence, and accepting yourself as you’re working towards your health and fitness goals. It’s about knowing when to workout and make healthier choices, and it’s also about knowing when to skip the gym and go out for a glass of wine with your girlfriends! For me being healthy is about finding a true balance.
— Claire Guentz, RN and Lifestyle Blogger
Healthy to me, means a sound mind and body. To maintain a form of ability to accomplish goals and longevity of life. Where as to establish a test of my own strengths to be the most able I can be.
— Colin Evans, My boyfriend and Fitness enthusiast
Feeling good about how my body operates rather than how my body looks. Making sure I feed myself the right foods, getting enough good sleep, exercising an amount that won’t exhaust me to the point I don’t have enough energy for the day and staying in contact with people to ensure I maintain social health.
— Audrey Frederick, New Mom to Twin Boys
Healthy to me is more than just the simple appearance of physical fitness. It is a more holistic, integrated approach that includes the overall well-being of the body, mind, soul, and environment. Healthy means living to your full potential through each of these avenues, by doing things such as exercising, meditating, praying, and surrounding yourself with people who grow you. Each of these areas has to be given the proper care and attention in order to be truly healthy.
— Dana Wood, MSW
Healthy to me means taking care of myself by eating well, exercising regularly, and keeping stress under control. I try to eat food that is natural and not processed. I try to exercise 5 days a week alternating between weightlifting and cardio. I try to get close to 8 hours of sleep.
— Amanda Young, my mom
For me, healthy means incorporating wise choices into my lifestyle. This could include eating better, exercising, or getting enough sleep. Also, when I think of the word healthy I think of feeling good, because when I do these things I have more energy and I am in a better mood.
— Trisha Nalley, Mom to a cute redhead

What does healthy mean to you?  Leave a comment below!