What is a Balanced Health Triangle?

A balanced health triangle suggests that all the 3 aspects of life - physical, mental and social - are hale and hearty. The following Buzzle article tells how to strike a balance in your health triangle.
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Definition of balanced health triangle
Did You Know?
Good health is often compared to a tripod stand. It has 3 legs―nutritious food, adequate sleep, and appropriate exercise. Without any one of these, it is impossible to strike a healthy balance in life.
The term 'health triangle' was conceptualized in 1997 by 120 eighth-graders of the Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks, Alaska. The students were given a task of writing essays on health problems that plagued them and other eight graders in their district. The research was part of the district's health curriculum that took approximately 10 days to finish. Everyday 1 hour of school time was dedicated to analyzing and pondering over various health issues. Finally, the study boiled down to researching on key aspects of health―physical, mental, and social―that affected overall well-being. The health triangle correlates all 3 aspects of health, meaning if any one aspect is not healthy, it can have a negative impact on the other two. It is elaborated below:

Consider a party person who may show good social skills, but the habit of partying late at night can disturb his sleeping pattern, in turn, affecting his physical and mental health. Now, consider a person who religiously follows his diet and exercise, but ignores attending social events and interacting with friends. This lack of social mobility can also be bad for mental health as the person may feel isolated, which may lead to depression. So, one can see how the sides of the triangle that stand for different aspects of life are interdependent on each other. Therefore, it is essential to balance all the sides of the triangle to achieve overall well-being. A balanced health triangle is an indication of high levels of well-being and life satisfaction. The following Buzzle article elaborates more on ways to have a balanced health triangle.

Balancing Health Triangle

In order to achieve a balanced health triangle, it is necessary to take care of the physical, mental, and social aspect of the health. Lifestyle changes that promotes overall well-being is the key to balancing the personal health triangle. It is discussed below.

Choose Healthy Foods
Making wise food choices is critical to balance the health triangle. Eating nutritious foods should be your top priority as it has a positive impact on your physical health and quality of life. The physical side of the health triangle depends on eating healthy foods. Follow a well-balanced diet, which means, eat healthy foods from each food group. Vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and proteins are the 5 food groups that provide ample nutrition.

Add variety to your diet by including different foods within each food group. Fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, beans, peas, nuts (almonds and walnuts), salmon, and lean meat are some of the healthy choices from dairy and protein food groups. When it comes to eating healthy, one simply cannot forget fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Eating vegetables in the form of salads is an easy way to add nutrition to your diet. As far as grains are concerned, choose whole grain products as they are more nutritious than refined grain products.

Exercise Daily
Besides eating healthy foodstuffs, it is imperative to exercise daily to stay physically fit. Exercising for at least half an hour can go a long way in keeping you fit and fine. Simple low-impact activity, such as brisk walking for around 45 minutes, can provide high health dividends and balance the physical aspect of the triangle of health. If possible, you could go to a gym and get a good dose of cardio and weight training. In case you feel exercising at a gym is not your cup of tea, there are other ways to stay in shape. Going for swim or playing sports like soccer, basketball, and tennis, or any other activity that you enjoy along with your friends, can also help you to stay fit.

Stay Mentally Active
While physical activity is important, one should not ignore the mental aspect of life to achieve a balanced health triangle. So, to stay mentally active, one can solve crosswords, jigsaws, puzzles or any other brain teasers. These brain exercising games that boost mental activity have been proven to reduce the risk of age-related mental decline. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga, can also help improve mental health.

Avoid Unhealthy Influences
To maintain good health and to stay in the best of shape, refrain from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Smoking and risky sexual behavior along with poor eating habits can negatively affect all 3 sides of the health triangle; hence, these need to be avoided.

Practice Good Grooming Habits

Practicing good grooming habits makes us feel good, which in turn has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. This also facilitates social interactions. So, make sure you shower everyday, wear deodorant, brush twice daily, put on clean, ironed clothes, wash your hands and shave whenever necessary, comb your hair, and most importantly, ensure that your shoes are clean and well-polished. These habits of good personal hygiene can also help increase confidence, self-esteem, and moreover, encourage positive interactions.

Take Rest
Yes, exercise and healthy diet are crucial for good health, but that does not mean you should ignore rest. Inadequate rest or sleep can lead to medical issues and ruin your health. Not taking enough sleep has been linked to obesity, behavioral problems, and weight gain. So, make sure that you get enough 'shut eye' (7 to 9 hours) to stay healthy and feel energetic throughout the day.

Be Social
The social aspect is as important as physical and mental aspect of your health, in balancing the health triangle. Research has shown that social interaction also has a positive influence on our health. A healthy social life can go a long way in reducing stress, elevating our mood and enabling us to manage the ups and downs in life in a better way. Being surrounded by good friends is a lot more comforting, and provides social and emotional support especially in times of grief. Friends and companionship can act as an emotional healer and can have a major impact on our well-being. As simple as sharing meals can help strengthen relationships. You can improve your social health by making new friends and taking part in group games that help nurture friendships.
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Published: June 13, 2014
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