What does it mean to be an Asian American man in 2021? For gastroenterologist Dr. Jonathan Kung, it means being active, eating healthy, and finding balance. As someone who knows very well the social pressures, by parents and society, for Asian American men to be a certain way, he is helping break all of that down. For him, it is important to live a balanced and proactive lifestyle, both in and out of work.
Dr. Kung isn’t your typical doctor. He makes sure to make time for himself and follow his passions. “As I continue my lifelong advancement in the field of gastroenterology, I have discovered the power of strengthening the mind and body in helping myself and my patients. I’m not only a physician but also an advanced soccer player and boxer. My passions are fitness, living an active lifestyle, and promoting general health and wellness, which I have found is often the cornerstone treatment for many of my patients!”
Knowing just how vital prevention is to avoid succumbing to life-threatening health issues, Dr. Kung has been a big proponent of something he considers the best preventative medicine: exercise. He says “It’s important to exercise daily. I enjoy soccer three times a week, but I also play basketball, do resistance training, and practice martial arts, just to name a few. My motto is to stay active, no matter how busy you are, and live the life that you envision yourself living!”
Some people out there, especially other doctors, may read that and think there is no way they could dedicate as much time as Dr. Kung has to exercising and doing something other than being a doctor. However, he remarks how that just isn’t a good enough excuse. After all, he is a full-time doctor, yet always finds time for self-care. “It’s important to exercise daily, spend time with family and friends, travel, and learn new things every day,” he says. “There is always time if you make time.”
For him, maintaining a healthy work-life balance can do more to prevent illnesses of all kinds than eating healthy can. This is due to the power for stress to weaken the immune system and then become more susceptible to issues like high blood pressure and heart disease. He mentions that “It’s extremely important to always make time outside of healthcare for family, friends, exercise, and travel.” Dr. Kung goes on to say that “In the last couple years before the pandemic started, I have been fortunate to explore Iceland, Aruba, and Japan. A balance of a proactive lifestyle, both inside and outside the hospital, keeps me healthy and motivated.”
We could all use a little more balance in our lives. Seeing how well that lifestyle is treating Dr. Kung, who stays remarkably active, shows us just how helpful it is to dedicate some me-time to improve and maintain our health. Asian American men will especially find Dr. Kung to be a tremendous source of inspiration.
You can follow Jonathan Kung on Instagram @jonny_kay.