Health and wellness are aspects of our lives we often take for granted.
The reason for this might be that most of us are simply never taught what constitutes health and wellness and how to ensure we remain healthy. In fact, the subject of health and wellness rarely gets mentioned until we are already suffering from a health concern.
Because of this, we want to take the time to break down the concepts of health and wellness and why you may want to consider a career in the health and wellness field.
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What Is Health?
The term ‘health’ traces its history back before 1000 A.D. and is derived from the old English term ‘hǣlth’, which means free from disease and infirmity. When we look at definitions of health today we’ll find that the state of health is generally associated with an absence of disease and described as a state of vigor.
Diseases often have criteria that doctors must recognize, measure, and describe, so this term is relatively objective. An example of an objectively defined disease is hypertension, which is diagnosed after multiple blood pressure readings of greater than 130/80. Yet, it seems very likely that someone could be considered healthy and still report feeling a lack of vigor. For example, this often occurs in aging men whose testosterone declines due to natural aging processes.
Our understanding of diseases and what constitutes health is constantly evolving, and what used to be considered a normal bodily process might now be classified as a disease state. A case in point is osteoporosis or a state of low bone density. Osteoporosis officially became classified as a disease by the World Health Organization in 1994, before which low bone density was considered a normal part of aging.
The changeable nature of physical wellness, mental wellness, health, and disease states evolves from an interplay between improved diagnostic tools, people’s expectations of how they should feel, and economic factors.
What Is Wellness?
While you might equate wellness with being healthy, there is a nuanced difference between these two terms. Wellness can be thought of as being healthy both physically and mentally and is often used to describe a state of health that is reached through deliberate effort. According to this definition, to be considered well, a person must be free from disease of both the body and the mind. What seems to be of even more importance to the definition of wellness is the emphasis on the healthy state being a result of deliberate effort.
The key to wellness is that it just doesn’t happen out of the blue for someone. People can be healthy in their bodies or minds without being well if they are not putting effort into ensuring and improving their health. When viewed from this perspective, wellness is a process and outcome of mental and body health achieved through hard work and patience.
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Careers in Health and Wellness
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to school for decades to work in the health and wellness field unless that’s your goal! There are many different careers in health and wellness, ranging from physical trainers and nutritionists to health and wellness coaches. Health and wellness is a field that requires diverse perspectives, with each individual contributing to the health of the individual as well as society in general.
No matter which health and wellness career you end up choosing, you’ll be working toward making other people feel better and live a better life. If you decide to become a personal trainer, you’ll spend your time working with others during workouts to improve their health. Those that end up choosing this career can expect to earn a median annual income of around $40,390.
Meanwhile, registered dietitians (RD) will have to go to school and complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in dietetics or food science. After becoming an RD, you’ll change the health and wellness of your clients by teaching them what a healthy diet looks like and how to eat healthily. RDs earn an average salary of $61,270 per year.
Or maybe you’ll find your calling as a health education specialist, who is someone who manages health education programs and teaches communities how to live a healthy lifestyle. In this position, you’ll be able to work with individuals one-on-one to address their health concerns as well as large groups of people. Health education specialists earn around $55,220 each year, but this income can be higher or lower depending on where you work.
You may be getting the idea by now that those in the health and wellness industry cover many kinds of careers and salaries. The aforementioned careers don’t even scratch the surface of possible jobs in this industry. Wherever your specific interest in the health and wellness industry may lie, you’re sure to find a job suited to you and your passion.