Can Healthy Habits Really Make You Healthier?

Can Healthy Habits Really Make You Healthier?

It’s necessary to know how to stay healthy.

Health is surely one of the most popular topics of interest these days. As population aging is becoming more extreme, our average life expectancy is headed towards 100 years now. As people face longer years as seniors, the concern of how to grow old and stay healthy is not just a concern to be overheard but a real problem.

We’re lost in too many ‘How-to’s.

There are a variety of professionally recommended ways to stay healthy. Some would suggest consuming certain types of food or vitamins and others would recommend doing certain types of workouts regularly. As we’re exposed to all this information from the media, we come to face a lot more difficult decisions on how to stay healthy.

Are we really healthy after all?

It’s already burdensome with so many things we’re recommended to do. But on top of that, there are conflicting opinions among different professionals, making it even more confusing. To accommodate all opinions, eating clean or limiting foods has become the trend. From the perspective of Korean Medicine, this is neither ideal nor recommended. As more opinions are added on to the list, there’s going to be a point where it all becomes too much and does more harm than good.

Too much good can be rather harmful.

In Korean Medicine, being in balance is the standard of being healthy. When one is too much or too little of something, it breaks the body’s balance: this is defined as being sick.

The imbalance caused by too little is called Deficiency and imbalance caused by too much is called Excess. In the past, there were more patients with Deficiency from not eating enough and not exercising correctly or effectively. But recently there’s been significant growth in patients with Excess, who have been sick due to overdoing things to stay healthy. Too much good, by nature, does more harm than good, and it’s often overlooked by many.

This generation needs to know when to say enough.

A grandpa who was lethargic and exhausted ate two ginseng roots every day. He came to the clinic with a high blood pressure and constant bleeding in the bronchus. A woman who thought walking was the best way to stay healthy came in with knee inflammation from jogging too much. A man who drank multiple energy drinks and worked out daily to be fit, came in with frequent nose bleeds and unbearable migraines. These people all tried their best to be healthy, but they ended up losing their health due to taking excessive measures. What our generation needs is not adding more, but to know when it’s enough. These days, working harder, eating better, and pursuing more is looked upon as desirable and respected. On the contrary, taking a break or being satisfied is perceived to be lazy and is often frowned upon. This societal aspect always has us on our feet trying to find more things to do for ourselves. As a result, many are doing too much of trying to make up for something they might be lacking.

The reason why working out can cause more problems.

Our body is constructed so that doing more would not be better for it. Working out is tense, physical labor that activates the sympathetic nervous system. Then, it leads to higher blood flow towards the muscles and increases muscle efficiency. With more blood flowing towards the muscles there’s less blood flowing to essential life-supporting organs which lowers organs’ efficiency. When this continues for a time, organs cannot function properly and can cause indigestion(stomach), heart palpitations (heart), insomnia (liver, heart), incontinence (bladder, kidney) and other diseases. Of course, there are remedies like herbal medicine which can suffice the lacking nutrients for those organs or acupuncture that turns the blood flow back towards the organs, but the most fundamental and simple treatment to such problems would be to take a break.

Take a break for recovery.

The parasympathetic nerve system enhances and speeds up the recovery of natural biological functions. But to do so, the sympathetic nervous system needs a break from the labor, in this case, working out, which causes the tension. Through a break, the parasympathetic nervous system can reverse the blood flow back towards the organs and let them recover to normal conditions. Food consumed is stored as fat in the abdominals during the day and our body spreads the fat all over the body when we sleep, and reduces the possibility of getting abdominal obesity. Physical injury is often treated and healed overnight while we’re asleep. Like so, our body is systemized to take off as much as we put on, which means taking a break is essential to be healthier. In Korean Medicine, this balance is defined as ‘Yin-Yang Balance’ and this is the logic of life that people should be more aware of.

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