Your Health Account
|Health Deposits and Health Withdrawals
In terms of your health and well-being it's very important to maintain current accounts. Deposits always need to exceed withdrawals. But sometimes we don't know we're making a withdrawal, or we forget we've not made sure to make enough deposits to cover a big withdrawal. That's the time we get sick.
For example, stress causes a big withdrawal from your health account. Your body expends high levels of energy to cope with stress - regardless of whether the stress is physical or psychological. And ongoing stress causes ongoing withdrawals.
In times of stress we need to pay particular attention to our health accounts. Healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient rest become even more important. The gotcha is when we're stressed we're often expending so much energy we don't think we have any energy left to do the things that are going to keep us healthy. We think we don't have enough time to exercise or go to the store to buy healthy food.
It's well worth making the time, even though we don't want to. Taking the time now to replenish our health accounts will pay off big time down the road.
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