Good health is the foundation upon which we build our lives. It unlocks countless possibilities and allows us to pursue our dreams. But what truly constitutes good health?
According to the World Health Organization, good health means optimal physical, mental, and social well-being. To achieve good health and thrive in every aspect of your life, you must maintain a harmonious balance in these three aspects.
Your body and mind constantly provide you with valuable insights about your well-being. When you pay attention to some visible cues and take proactive measures to identify and mitigate risks associated with your overall, you can pave the way toward a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. So what are these cues? Continue reading as we shed light on some fundamental indicators that serve as guiding lights for our physical and mental vitality.
1. Vital Signs – The Pulse of Well-Being
Vital signs form the cornerstone of health assessment. Blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, respiratory rate, and body temperature provide crucial insights into our physiological state. In fact, any changes in these crucial health pointers can help us diagnose any potential issues at the earliest. For instance, when your body temperature rises, it serves as an immediate indication of a potential fever, which could be attributed to factors such as infection, allergies, or an underlying medical condition.
Regularly monitoring these signs helps detect any primary health concerns and allows for timely intervention. Since these vitals reflect the rhythm of a healthy life, you must develop a habit of monitoring your vital signs regularly, preferably every day. For this reason, it’s essential to keep a vital signs monitor at home. Thanks to technological innovation, we now have compact patient monitors, vital signs monitors, and smart devices that can track and provide real-time information on pulse rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, blood sugar levels, body temperature, and respiratory rate. Wearables like smart watches, smart wristbands for patients, and other devices provide us with a convenient and continuous means of monitoring and tracking our health as well as gathering essential health data. With a range of smart medical devices, we can effortlessly keep tabs on our vital signs, activity levels, and sleep patterns and take proactive steps toward better health.
2. Balanced Body Mass Index (BMI)
A healthy and balanced BMI is a strong indicator of good health. Body-mass index is a quantitative measure of a person’s mass or weight and height, which helps assess whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. A BMI above 25 indicates overweight, while a lower BMI (under 18) may indicate malnutrition, hypermetabolism, or other underlying medical conditions. However, a BMI within the “green” or ideal range, between 18.5 and 24.9, means you have a perfect amount of fat within the body.
Striving for a BMI within the healthy range ensures reduced risks of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. To maintain a healthy BMI, you need to make certain lifestyle changes which include:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Staying physically active
- Getting enough sleep
- Avoiding sugary or processed foods
- Managing stress
3. Regular Sleep-Wake Cycles
Quality sleep is directly associated with our mental health and optimal cognitive function. A good night’s sleep rejuvenates our body and mind, boosts immunity, and helps us manage stress. A healthy body naturally aligns its sleep-wake cycle with nature’s pattern through circadian rhythms and stabilizes our restorative cycle.
Having a consistent sleep pattern is indicative of a healthy sleep-wake cycle. If you find yourself effortlessly drifting off to sleep within half an hour of going to bed and enjoy uninterrupted sleep for 6-8 hours without frequent awakenings during the night, you can consider your sleep-wake cycle regular.
Another significant measure of restful sleep is waking up in the morning feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and full of energy. However, if you encounter difficulties in achieving any of these factors, it could indicate an underlying health issue, and it is advisable to consult your doctor for further guidance and support.
4. Healthy Bowel Movement
Healthy bowel movement is strongly associated with gut health as well as mental health. Ideally, if your bowel movement is regular and you don’t feel bloated or get a stomachache often, it means you have a healthy digestive system. However, passing stool too often or too less can be an indication of poor gut health or underlying physical or mental problems.
Look for the following symptoms that indicate poor bowel movement or bowel dysfunction:
- Difficulty passing stools
- Straining during bowel movements
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Frequent loose or watery stools
- Cramping or discomfort in the abdominal region
- A feeling of fullness or swelling in the abdomen
- Excessive gas or flatulence
- Incomplete evacuation during a bowel movement
Fortunately, you can regulate your bowel movement without medical intervention. The remedy is as easy as drinking plenty of water throughout the day, consuming loads of fiber initially, and maintaining an adequate fiber intake later on.
A balanced diet also contributes to regularity and eliminates constipation. If you’re experiencing alternating bowel movements, make sure to include at least 6-8 servings of fresh vegetables and fruits every day and replace place carbs with complex carbs. Introduce probiotics in your dietary supplement and increase your intake of probiotic foods that support the growth of the gut microbiome.
5. Good Oral Health and Balanced Breath
Your oral health reflects the choices you make in your daily life, even the smallest ones, like brushing your teeth. A healthy mouth is not only essential for maintaining a radiant smile but also for overall well-being. A healthy mouth promotes proper chewing, digestion, and speech and contributes to a confident and positive self-image.
If you enjoy your favorite hot or cold beverage without any discomfort or sensitivity, have pink and healthy gums, and have a neutral, fresh aroma in your breath, it means you enjoy good oral health and prioritize oral hygiene.
Regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups help prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. However, oral health issues like gum diseases, bad breath, tooth decay, and dental cavities are sometimes indicative of other health issues like genetic disorders, gut health problems, and some forms of carcinomas. This is why regular visits to a dental professional for check-ups and cleanings every six months are crucial to maintaining optimal oral health and preventing any potential issues in the future.
Good health is a precious gift that allows you to thrive and make the most of your life. The above indicators help you gain a more holistic understanding of your overall well-being and empower you to prioritize self-care and adopt healthy habits that nourish your body and mind. When you maintain good health, you can truly unlock your full potential and live a vibrant and healthy life.