Almost everyone wants to be healthy and live a healthy lifestyle, but it can be difficult to know exactly what that means. There are so many options and directions that people can choose to take when it comes to their lifestyle.
One person may opt to go vegan and run while another may choose keto and weight lifting. The number of combinations possible is endless. How can you decide what makes a lifestyle healthy?
Below is a closer look at the components of your health that encompass a healthy lifestyle, plus metrics and tools to help you better understand your overall health. Understanding what being healthy looks like can help you fully support your body and mind.
Components of health
Good health can enable you to do whatever it is you wish to do, while poor health can hold you back in a number of different ways. While having good health is often regarded as a singular thing to have, the reality is that there are many different facets to your overall health.
Below is a closer look at the different components of your health and what they entail.
Your dietary health consists of the food choices you make. Your body needs a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients on a consistent basis to function optimally. This is where a well-balanced diet comes into play.
When it comes to your diet, it can be easy to fall victim to the plethora of fad diets that claim to be healthy. If a diet denies your body of the things it needs to function, look for a better option. Generally, you should focus on ensuring you are getting all of the necessary nutrition your body needs on a consistent basis.
Getting your recommended daily intake of everything can be a daunting task, but luckily there are a number of resources available including MyPlate from the US Department of Agriculture to help. Additionally, you can also utilize supplements to help support your body and fill in any dietary gaps to ensure your body has everything it needs.
Physical health is the component of health that most people think of when discussing what it means to be healthy. Having a cut body, glowing skin, and being fit tend to be the depictions of healthy people in mainstream media. While this component is often glorified, physical health does contribute to your overall health.
Cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, strength, and bone density are all aspects of your physical health that can have real-world benefits and are essential to living a healthy life. All of these aspects of your physical health are directly related to your level of physical activity.
Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day is a good goal to help maintain your overall physical health. Choose activities you enjoy, like bike riding, swimming, playing tennis, or running. Always speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a new fitness regimen.
Mental health is something that has long been considered taboo, but today there is much less stigma surrounding individuals discussing and acknowledging the importance of mental wellbeing and mental health in general.
Having good mental health is not something that is straightforward, but there are some general indications of good psychological health. These factors include the ability to cope with stress in healthy ways, effectively regulate emotions, and possessing the ability to think clearly.
Maintaining good mental health is also not always easy. Stress can wear you down. Some things you can do to facilitate good mental health include having a good work-life balance and getting adequate sleep each night.
Mental health can be tricky waters to navigate on your own. Many people find therapists to be a helpful way of sorting through their thoughts and learning strategies to support a healthy mind. Whether short-term or for a longer period of time, a therapist can help you learn better ways of coping with whatever life throws your way.
At some point or another, you have likely heard that “people are social creatures,” and while it may sound like any other cliche, this one does actually have some merit. Social health refers to having and maintaining healthy relationships with those around you.
Having good social health can provide a number of benefits. Some of these health benefits include providing you with a sense of belonging, making you more empathetic, and helping you feel valued or appreciated.
When it comes to your social health, you don’t need to be the most popular and outgoing person in the world. Simply cultivating strong and meaningful connections with those around you can help facilitate good social health. Quality is more important than quantity.
How to know if you are healthy?
Now that you know that being healthy is a blanket term for many components of health, you are likely wondering how exactly you determine whether or not you are healthy. With so many different components, how exactly do you determine if an individual is healthy?
The answer is that you can use metrics and tools to assess the different components of your health. Below is a closer look at the ways each of these factors are assessed and how you can tell if you are healthy.
Determining whether or not what you are eating is healthy is quite easy. You can turn to a professional, like a dietician. Simply tracking your food intake is a great first step, and from there, you can calculate how much of each macromolecule, vitamin, and mineral you consumed in a day.
Ideally, you would want to meet your daily requirements set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. If there are gaps in your nutrition, you can better assess the situation and determine if you need to incorporate different foods or nutritional supplements into your diet to help support your health.
When it comes to your physical health, there are a number of metrics you can turn to in order to give you have a better understanding of your physical fitness. Some of those metrics include blood pressure, strength assessments, VO2 Max, flexibility assessments, and bone density imaging.
As you may have realized, there are a lot of different methods to determine your physical health. This is where a licensed physician can be immensely helpful. Getting a physical is your best chance at learning more about the state of your physical health and what you can do to improve it.
When done regularly, physicals can be an effective means for creating preventative health plans and ensuring you are staying on top of your overall health.
Social and psychological health
Psychological health is something that can be a little tricky to understand as everyone is different. Generally, if you feel that you are in good spirits, can effectively navigate stress, and feel generally good, it tends to be an indication of good psychological health.
The best methods for determining psychological health combine questionnaires, talking, and professional assessment. A psychologist, psychiatrist, or primary care doctor can help to identify any potential mental health concerns and can be instrumental in getting you the right tools or medications to support you.
What role does cellular health play?
There are many different aspects of your health. One part of your overall health level that is often overlooked, but that can help support your body is your cellular health.
Cellular health refers to your health at a microscopic cellular level. Cells work together to form tissues that make up organs, which then make up body systems, which then make you. Taking this micro approach to health and wellness may seem excessive, but it can have a number of benefits to your overall well-being.
Cells require a special molecule known as ATP to perform a number of functions. Making enzymes, creating proteins, and transporting things in and out of the cell all require ATP, making it a vital molecule at a cellular level.
The mitochondria are cellular components within your cell that convert glucose into ATP for the cell. Unfortunately, the mitochondria are not infallible and can succumb to a kind of chemical stress known as oxidative stress.
Mitochondria contain a molecule known as CoQ10 within their membrane that helps to protect the membrane from oxidative damage. Sometimes CoQ10 levels can decline. When this happens, the mitochondria can become susceptible to damage and experience a decline in ATP efficiency. This is where MitoQ comes in.
MitoQ is a supplement that, when taken routinely over time, can help to support the body. This can help to maintain mitochondrial efficiency which may have a number of benefits to your overall health including the possibility of improved energy levels, feelings of mental clarity, and more. This is a prime example of how maintaining your cells may help to take care of your overall health.
In summary, there is not a single definition or way of understanding whether a person is healthy or not. With so many different aspects of health, the only true way to determine one's health is to assess them individually.
Healthcare providers can be a great tool for determining your health. If you are curious about whether or not you are healthy, consider scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor to better see where you stand.