While driving to work, I see a number of signs passing by along the road. They contain advertisements for gyms in the area. These signs catch my eye more as the new year approaches. Exercising more, losing weight and quitting smoking have been the calibrated New Year's resolutions that come to mind for years. I think about trying a new recipe tonight. Cooking a new recipe once a week is my resolution. That should work, right?
I have a busy day today. There are many thirteen-week ultrasound examinations waiting for me today. With a term echo here and there and a growth check, I explain to everyone during the ultrasound what I see and give them the necessary explanations. 'Is my child healthy? ' asks the first gentleman holding his wife's hand tightly. 'I can't answer that,' I say with a smile. 'But you say everything looks good?' he says surprised.
It's true what the man says. During every ultrasound, I look at a developing foetus. If I cannot detect any peculiarities, development seems to be going well for the time being. This gentleman concludes from this that his child is healthy.
I have heard myself ask the question out loud, what keeps health then actually in? Just ask 10 people at a birthday party and you will get 10 different answers. Being healthy cannot be measured in my opinion. It depends on how you can strike the right balance in sleep/wake rhythms, stress management, the right diet and sufficient exercise. Health cannot be measured by any measure, number or percentage. It could be physical but also mental and the latter certainly cannot be measured. I asked around my circle of friends and got the following answers:
A fit body, a healthy weight, not getting up tired anymore, having no more complaints, being able to run the marathon, never being sick again, having one less dress size, having a stable sugar level, having a zest for life every day and being happy.
I find that last one interesting. Being happy. Are you happy healthy or healthy happy? You can already see here that physical and mental health are related.
The dictionary says the following:
Healthy (adjective, adverb)
1 physically fit, not sick: healthy and well; healthy ideas of insight; a healthy business profitable
2 beneficial: a healthy climate
I will leave global warming and climate out of this blog for now because this is an individual question. Okay, physically fine, not sick. Is nice and short. But where does the saying ''As healthy as a fish in water' from then?
This expression goes back very far in time, namely to antiquity. The phrase was introduced by the Roman poet Juvenalis, who lived around AD 100. In one of his poems, the phrase appears as follows: "Sanior es pisce." , meaning 'as healthy as a fish'.
Remarkable here is that 'in the water' has been omitted, despite all waters being much less polluted then than now. 'In the water' is also more often left out now, in my opinion. I think for that, we need to solve the plastic soup in the world first. Plastic soup...I am parking this topic next to global warming for a moment.
The poet Juvenalis is also known for another expression, "Mens sana in corpore sano." , meaning a healthy mind in a healthy body.
I had to explain that anyway to this man who asked me this morning if his child was healthy. Because this is actually all-encompassing and yet not. Then I hope that from now on, after every ultrasound examination, where I can't detect any peculiarities, I can say: 'Everything I could assess seems normal. Let's hope the baby gets a healthy mind in a healthy body.'
With a small caveat that in adulthood, it takes some good intentions, around 1 January, to refresh one's health. Or at least give it some thought.