Those that believe they can be healthy get there, no matter where they are starting from. Research agrees that your perception of health influences your behaviors and outcomes more than any other factor, including genetics.
So Let's Talk More About Health Perception
Health perception includes what you believe about your appearance, function, and ability to perform physical activities. Higher self-perceptions of health leads to a move active lifestyle because you are confident in yourself and believe your choices make a difference.
Research shows that those who perceive themselves to be healthier are actually physically stronger. Older adults who reported a higher feeling of health perception were found to be less likely to fall, be more flexible, and scored higher on physical tests and measures.
So as we can see, the more you feel confident in your ability to accomplish a physical task, the more likely you are to do it! This, in turn, promotes more physical activity, increasing strength, flexibility, and coordination. Improved confidence in your abilities keeps you moving and striving for better. Those who believe they are healthy are likely to be more active, seek out healthy foods, and treat their bodies well.
On the other hand, a negative perception of your will lead you to be less likely to be active, therefore more likely to develop chronic disease. For example, research has shown the more you fear falling to more you make yourself likely to fall. Research has also shown that feeling anxious about developing a health condition you don't have is a stronger risk factor for chronic disease than any risk factors. Crazy, right?! Fear and lack of confidence cause you to avoid activity, leading to weakness and a vicious cycle of physical decline.
How to Shift Your Mindset
The great news is that you hold the power to start living well today! By starting to shift your mindset, even slowly and subtly, you set yourself up to live your best life.
To gain an understanding of yourself and your current mindset, ask yourself the following questions:
- How would you describe your current health?
- What are you doing to promote your health?
- Do you have any habits that are negatively impacting your health?
- Are you accomplishing what you want to?
- Are you doing activities that are meaningful to you every day?
- Do you have concerns about your current or future health?
Keep your answers in mind, write them down if you need to, and look at them as often as you need to start to change your mindset for the better!
What small steps can you take today to improve your health mindset?
- Sales M, Levinger P, Polman R. Relationship between self perceptions and physical activity behaviour, fear of falling, and physical function among older adults. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity (2017) 14:17.