Character Chats

What is Health?

What is health?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio. I have two master’s degrees in education, and we’ve put this program together to best meet the needs of our youngest students who are three or four, and our oldest student who is turning 85.

Types of Health

This month, we’re talking about health. A lot of us know that being healthy means eating good foods, having those fruits and veggies, making sure you get your good proteins, and those kinds of things. We also know that exercising is a way of being in good health. We know we need to eat right. We know we need to get movement in, but there’s other aspects of health that, especially for our younger students, they might not recognize as being healthy.

Healthy Sleep

One of those things is getting good sleep. When my kids were little, we would argue over when to go to bed or how much sleep you needed, and I vividly remember when my daughter, who’s now off at college, was in seventh grade, she came home and she said, “Mom, none of my other friends have a bedtime. Why do you still make me go to bed at 9:00 or 9:30?” I said, “Good point. Why don’t you decide?”

For the next two weeks, she chose, and of course she chose midnight. You’re probably thinking I was crazy letting a seventh grader, 11, 12-year-old, stay up as late as she wanted to stay up. However, I chose to allow her to feel those natural consequences. After about two weeks, she said, “I’m really tired.” I’m like, “Yeah, you are. You’re not being really healthy right now. You aren’t concentrating. Your brain isn’t sharp. Your body feels lethargic and run down. How do you want to fix it?” She started going to bed at a more reasonable time for her 11, 12-year-old age, or seventh grade age. So, sleep is part of being healthy.

Types of Resting

So, eating those good foods, having that good exercise, getting good sleep, drinking enough water, we all know we should drink enough water in the day. That is also part of being healthy, but there’s another aspect too, where we need to make healthy choices like whether or not resting right now would be a good idea.

Let’s say you just got home from work, and you’ve gotten kind of overwhelmed from the projects that you had to deal with that day. You know have a lot to do, making dinner, maybe going to the grocery store, throwing in some laundry, whatever it might be. However, the healthy habit at that moment in time might be taking 5 or 10 minutes to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine, to take a walk around your neighborhood, to sit on the floor and play with the dogs, to make your favorite tea, or something like that, finding a restful meditative, if you will, idea of something to do could be a really good healthy habit because then your brain can be sharp.

Making Healthy Choices

You can be focused, you can get some things accomplished. You don’t become hangry, hungry and angry at the same time because you’ve taken the opportunity to put in place a healthy habit. So, as we’re talking about health this month, yes, we will be talking about nutrition. Yes, we will be talking about exercise. Yes, we will be talking about sleep and water, but we’re also going to be talking about meditation or relaxation. We’re also going to be talking about having those good choices.

We’re also going to be talking about what unhealthy looks like, what choosing something unhealthy would be. If our peers were trying to get us to do something that wasn’t going to be healthy, how can we stand confidently and say no to those ideas?

So, health is a whole person concept, and we talk a lot about that here at the martial arts, the whole person. We’re not just punching and kicking. Yes, exercise is good, but we’re also taking care of our whole body because this is the only body we have, so we need to make sure that we’re being kind to ourselves, we’re taking care of ourselves, and we’re making those thoughtful, healthful choices so at the end of the day, our bodies can be strong, our minds can be sharp, we can feel really good about who we are, what we’re doing, where we’re going, decisions we’re making, and we can lead that healthy lifestyle.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here