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Health Matters: What Does Healthy Mean to You?

Defining the concept of health and wellness

Over the past few years, wellness-related products and services have boomed in Shanghai, as more and more people have begun to prioritize their health. Fitness studios, juice cleanses, organic produce, yoga, fitness communities, health retreats and resorts, meditation—it’s fantastic that in just a few years we went from having such limited options to now being spoiled for choice. 


But with so many people, brands and platforms promoting themselves these days, touting their own definitions of what “healthy” means, it’s easy to get confused, or worse, feel bad about not conforming to some “ideal”. 


We shouldn’t feel the need to pursue the same goals, whether that be a diet or fitness regime, an appropriate work/life balance, travel, leisure activities—any of the many considerations we make when deciding what makes us, as individuals, feel best. To illustrate this, I’ve invited three people from three different professions to share what ‘healthy’ means to them. 


Igor Valentic, Teacher

I believe it’s okay to be selfish with my health, as I feel I first have to get myself in tip-top condition before I can bring a genuine energy to those around me. Physical fitness is quite important to me, though I stay out of gyms. I like to play—run, chase, push, pull, roll, crawl. I workout in the morning with the fitness community FitFam, and often do cardio at night. When the day is done, I like to unwind with a vice or two; it’s my reward, and I don’t feel bad about it. I believe how you rest and find peace is also important. Bottom line, I believe to be human is to move, so I do my best to live that philosophy every day.”  


Nataliia Kolesnykova, Energy Healer

“I see being healthy as being in tune with my body, mind and soul. I believe health starts with love and appreciation. I feel that having negative thoughts about myself, my habits, or illness actually detracts further from my well being, so I use acceptance and start from a place in which I have a positive attitude as the surest way to well being. If I experience any pain or discomfort in my body, I take it as a signal for change, rather than an annoyance or malfunction. If this happens I make adjustments—to slow down, to change my diet, lifestyle or way of thinking. So I always pay attention to that. When I wake up, I drink water, take a few deep breaths, and smile.” 


Pursuing healthy by some predefined notion is a little misguided...




Lars Wöldern, Finance Professional

“I feel ‘health’ is a concept that encompasses more than just diet and exercise. For me, the end goal is to be able to answer affirmatively, “Am I happy?”, “Do I feel good?” Pursuing health by some predefined notion is a little misguided, so I just try and focus on the energy and lightness I feel from the activities I engage in. I don’t push too hard when I workout, viewing it more as an opportunity to recharge and for some me time.  My goal is to just feel good, stay positive amid life’s twists and turns and eat pizza on the weekends without excessive amounts of guilt.”


The bottom line is that what we understand to be “healthy” should be defined uniquely by each of us, so we can use it as a tool, rather than a burden, in the service of the sensations, emotions and the life that we want.


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