Your Health Account
Everyone wants to grow their bank account. We know our financial health is usually estimated by the level of our resources. The more money in the bank, figuratively speaking, the more secure we feel. If our resources include stocks, bonds, and property, we are even more secure.
We can use such fiscal accounting as a metaphor for our physical health and well-being. The more resources we can accumulate in our “health account” the healthier we’ll be. And if we’re able to diversify the “holdings” in our health accounts, as we’d like to be doing with our financial accounts, we’ll enjoy more and better long-term health from many points of view.
Whether we’re paying attention or not, our physical resources fluctuate as regularly as do our financial resources. And as in financial accounting, health accounting involves income and expenses. If income exceeds expenses, you enjoy higher levels of relative health. The converse is also true – when expenses exceed income, health deteriorates.
What kinds of things can go into our health accounts? We can easily list the most crucial of these – food,1 exercise 2 and rest.3 But we’re not interested in quantity. We’re much more interested in quality. We’re interested in maximizing value. For example, focusing on quantity with respect to food causes a person to become overweight. Focusing on quality – high-quality protein and high-quality complex carbohydrates, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – causes a person to become leaner and fitter. We don’t want to fill our health accounts with coins made of lead and copper. We want to fill them with coins made of gold.
As far as rest is concerned, it’s important to get, on average, the rest we need. Most people require 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. There are exceptions, of course. For the average person, getting 6 or less hours of sleep on a long-term basis will deplete their health account. But getting too much sleep also has a negative impact. Again, quality is more important than quantity.
There are many additional sources of “income” that enrich our health accounts. Loving relationships with our family, fulfilling relationships with our friends, stimulating and challenging activities and interests, learning new skills, and exploring new environments all grow our health accounts and enhance our long-term health and well-being.
Chiropractic care is another source of “income” for our health accounts. Regular chiropractic care helps a person maximize the value – on a physiological basis – of the food, exercise, and rest she is getting. Chiropractic care helps people get the most out of their health resources, becoming more efficient and effective in terms of physiology, health, and well-being.
1Greenwald P, Dunn BK: Do we make optimal use of the potential of cancer prevention? Recent Results Cancer Res 181:3-17, 2009
2Jackson AS, et al: Role of lifestyle and aging on the longitudinal change in cardiorespiratory fitness. Arch Intern Med 169(19):1781-1787, 2009
3Smaldone A, et al: Sleepless in America: inadequate sleep and relationships to health and well-being of our nation’s children. Pediatrics 119(Suppl 1):S29-S37, 2007