Corinne Austin | Personal Training

The Totality of Health

I had a realisation the other day after a conversation with a client.  It dawned on me that decades of media propaganda has lead to a deeply engrained belief (almost to the cellular level it seems) that health is still just the sum of the food we do or don’t eat and the exercise we do or don’t do.  The client, whom had had months and even years of frustration and disappointment as she tried to find the magical health formula herself, had come seeking my help to help her unravel and piece together her health, so she could have a renewed understanding of how she could serve herself best and simply just feel alive again.  And whilst I was waiting for a series of tests etc to be done so that I had enough information to help her, she asked me what she could do in the mean time.  She was completely perplexed when I told her her options were to walk barefoot along the beach (without head phones), lay on the grass for 20mins, or indulge in a power nap.  Her reply was ‘and here’s me thinking you were going to tell me to exercise more!’


Here’s the crux of it.  The totality of health is so much more than just exercise and food.  And this is the precise reasoning my own career path has altered slightly in more recent years.  I came to realise that no matter how well people ate, or how well they exercised, some just seemed to get sicker, and others just seemed to find life an endless struggle of poor energy, bad sleep, weight fluctuations, mood disorders, digestive complaints, menstrual problems, debilitating fatigue, aching joints and more.


Health is a complex, multi-faceted, and ever-evolving state of wellbeing.  Health is not a destination, nor an inert condition.  The only thing constant in this life is change.  And health is on this same constant path – no two days will ever be exactly the same because we’re constantly adapting and manipulating ourselves to work best with the circumstances and environment that surrounds us at any given point in time.  It’s clear then, that the formula for health expands far beyond the sum of food and exercise, and touches upon mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental, chemical, and social elements too.  So upon addressing health we must therefore consider each and every one of these elements to ensure we are recognising and acknowledging the totality of health.


We need to realise too that optimal health is not just the absence of disease, but is instead the ability to thrive in our own wellbeing.  The great news is is that if we feel we are suffering from any type or severity of symptoms, we actually have an abundance of areas we can explore to help us understand where the poor health is coming from, as well as the many elements we can tap into to help us rediscover the level of vitality we long for.  We also need to remember that we need to address and consider all elements of health on our quest to improve it – the mind, body, spirit, and environment are integrated and inseparable, and one cannot be maximised whilst others are neglected.  Our existence, and the level of vigour to which we exist, depends upon the various elements of our existence working in harmony with one another.  Our bodies are like a symphony orchestra – if any members (aka body systems) become disillusioned with their role, or simply forget how to play their instrument, the whole orchestra (aka the body in its entirety) suffers.  Only when the entire orchestra plays in tune and with optimal timing will the sound be seamless and unflawed, whilst also maximising the energy and impact it has upon those listening.


So, how can you begin to reflect of your own personal totality of health?  How well does your overall health rank right now?  What do you feel is missing?  What would you like more of?  It’s not until you address these questions that you begin to appreciate the whopping number of opportunities and possibilities you have to discover the true potential of your health, but to also understand what makes you tick, and what is truly important to you.

Here’s a brief synopsis of how you could begin addressing the various elements of health in your life:

Physical – take a daily walk in the outdoors

Mental – commit to a morning routine to set yourself up for the day

Social – connect with the kinds of friends that light you up and make you feel invincible

Environmental – be sure to immerse yourself in surroundings that make you calm and happy

Spiritual – spend some time alone to help you understand the things that truly drive you and what your purpose is in life

Lifestyle – how could you manipulate your daily routine to create better balance for yourself

Chemical – in what ways could you reduce your exposure to toxins and other elements detrimental to optimal health

Emotional – how can you create outlets for your negative emotions and opportunities to enhance your positive emotions?


When introducing anything new, give it time.  You need to construct all things so they work for you, your likes, your lifestyle, your circumstances, and ultimately your current state of health.  When we start to experience the value in caring for all parts of ourselves, we begin to feel more complete, fulfilled, healthier and happier and we uncover a radiance that shines from inside out.


  • Corinne Austin
  • Movement and Health Coach