Health is more than simply the absence of disease. It involves a balance of many factors, including physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and access to healthcare when necessary.

Researchers publishing in The Lancet defined health as “a resource for an individual to perform their function in society.” This means that good health is essential to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

1. It Gives You a Better Quality of Life

The quality of life you enjoy greatly depends on the state of your health. When your body is healthy, you are able to perform daily tasks easily and without any pain or discomfort. You are also more likely to feel confident in your ability to solve problems and overcome challenges.

While some factors that affect health are due to individual choices, such as whether or not you smoke or consume alcohol, many others are beyond the control of your own actions. These factors are known as the social determinants of health. They include the economic and cultural environment where you live, your access to good food, and your ability to get medical treatment when needed.

A healthy lifestyle requires a balance of nutrition, exercise, and rest. If you need help achieving this balance, you can seek the advice of a health coach or therapist. You can also start small and gradually change your unhealthy habits. For example, instead of eating white bread for breakfast every morning, try replacing it with a whole grain option.

2. It Helps You Fight Disease

A healthy lifestyle helps prevent disease and keeps your body working properly. It can also help you manage illness or injury and get back to your normal routine more quickly.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This includes a sense of meaning and purpose in life, good relationships with others and the environment, and the ability to cope with stress and change.

Your immune system protects you against diseases by identifying invaders and attacking them with white blood cells. It sends out antibodies that destroy germs that enter your body, and it can also heal damaged tissues. If you have cancer or another illness that weakens your immune system, it can’t do its job. Other illnesses that can weaken your immune system include autoimmune disorders (like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis), primary immunodeficiency diseases (like AIDS or mononucleosis) and infection with certain types of viruses, like tetanus or influenza.

3. It Saves You Money

Getting regular check-ups and screenings can save you money in the long run. Preventative care is usually less expensive than emergency care, ongoing treatment or addressing diseases that have progressed due to neglect.

Similarly, healthy eating habits can save you a lot of money in the long run. Cooking at home, rather than ordering take-out or purchasing processed foods can help you cut down on your food expenses. In addition, many employers now offer employee wellness programs that reward employees for adopting healthy lifestyles with cash prizes or gym membership discounts.

Finally, a good understanding of your health needs and the costs associated with healthcare can help you save money on insurance. It’s important to understand that a higher premium does not necessarily mean more coverage and that negotiating prices for routine healthcare services can often save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Shop around for care like you would for a flight or an appliance to see if the cost of care is worth it for you.

4. It Makes You Happier

In addition to making you feel great physically, a healthy lifestyle gives you the energy to spend time with your loved ones. Whether it’s enjoying outdoor walks or playing with your nieces and nephews, health can make all the difference in how you enjoy life.

In fact, it’s been shown that happy people are healthier people. Researchers have found that people who report high levels of positive emotion have lower blood pressure, less body fat and a stronger immune system.

In one famous study, researchers asked nuns to rate their feelings of amusement, contentment, gratitude and love. It turns out that the happiest-seeming nuns lived 7-10 years longer than their less joyful counterparts. Happiness and health work together in an upward spiral. For example, when you are happy, you want to be more active and foster social connections, which boosts your happiness even more. These positive emotions also help you avoid toxins and stress, which can lead to health problems down the road.