According to common beliefs, a healthy lifestyle means a diet rich in vegetables and proteins, low in sugar, fat, and processed foods, regular sports, a balanced schedule, no alcohol, no smoking, no stress, and good night sleep. We believe it is almost impossible to reach this optimal state of body and mind, but does that mean only a handful of people are living healthily? What does health mean in this context?
While for the majority of people, health nowadays does not only mean the opposite of disease – not experiencing crippling symptoms, not feeling any pain and being able to undertake daily tasks – but in the last couple of decades, the concept of health was augmented with the idea of “well-being”. The rise of the fitness industry from the 1960s onwards brought with it bodybuilding and aerobics, nutrition science and practice have been burgeoning, smoking has been publicly chastised and gradually expelled from public institutions, schools, airplanes, and other public places.
That’s already beyond the notion of not getting into the healthcare system and rather means struggling for the optimization of the body to avoid falling ill – with means such as sports and dietary restrictions. Lately, fitness and health technologies joined the forces promising well-being, fitness, and wellness. What will happen if big data and artificial intelligence-based wearables and health sensors will also get into the picture? Will our understanding of health and “health optimization” change?
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