Growing up, I didn’t think much about health or being healthy. I took it for granted. I did not know what it meant to not be healthy. I knew you were supposed to exercise and eat proper meals, but I didn’t really know what that meant. In fact, I used to joke that “exercise” and “Virginia” in the same sentence must include a negation in it, like “doesn’t” or “won’t”.
I knew smoking was not good for your health and certainly didn’t like that my parents smoked. I made that point loud and clear. I would cover my face with my shirt any time they lit up near me, or would roll the window down in the car so I wouldn’t have to smell it. This was all before the news about second-hand smoke. I must have had some good intuition!
But as I got older and learned more about foods and also watched as people I knew were sick or unhealthy, I started to pay attention. I would watch people work so hard to get to retirement to enjoy life and then find they were sick and couldn’t do the things they planned to do. I was determined not to let that be me.
What does it mean to be healthy? To me, it means taking care of yourself; being able to do the things you want to do; doing the best you can to avoid disease; and it refers to your physical and mental state of being. When I’m healthy I feel good, have energy to do things, such as enjoy what my city has to offer or offer my services to those who can use my help.
Why is health important for you? I think it’s important so you can enjoy the pleasures in life; so you can be strong during any setbacks or injuries; being around to see important milestones with family and friends; being able to do what you want to do; and being healthy means you can help others.
So, what does health have to do with community? If community members are healthy, then we can care for our community; we can be there to raise children and teach them to be good citizens; we don’t burden the healthcare system and funds can be used toward education or other community services; and when you are healthy you are happy, which means happier, friendlier people in your neighborhoods.