What exactly is good health?

The World Health Organization defines it this way:

“Good health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

That sounds good, but how do you know if you are “absent of disease or infirmity?” How many times have you heard about a surprise diagnosis of heart disease, cancer, kidney or liver failure of a silent lung mass? A person goes in to see a physician because of a minor complaint and discovers there is something much more serious happening inside their body.

First Nations explains good health in a little different way:

“Good health is a balance of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements. All four interact together to form a strong, healthy person. If we neglect one of these elements, we get out of balance and our health suffers in all.”

This definition takes into consideration the influence our mind, spirit, and relationships have on our health. We have all heard the statements like “He died of a broken heart” or “She shut herself away from everyone and her health deteriorated.” The most nutritious food, amount of exercise, or medicines never seem to provide enough in those situations.

Is age a factor in good health?

As a person ages and the years pile up, the level of health and fitness changes, mostly in a diminishing direction. For that reason, should we consider good health relative? For instance, a 70-year-old person might be taking medications to control cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a heart condition. You couldn’t say there was “absence of disease or infirmity” in their health. But this same 70-year old goes to yoga classes, walks a mile every day and is active in their church and community. While this septuagenarian does not have the same level of health as when they were 30, or 40, would we say they were in good health for their age?

Does Good Health have a Finite Definition?

It seems taking everything into consideration, good health is a relative term. So, what can be done to be considered to be in good health?  There are several steps that, if taken consistently, seem to feed the fire of good health for everyone:

  • Eat well and maintain a good weight that allows you to be energetic and strong. If weight does not impede your activities, it might be the best weight for you.
  • Engage in exercise and active living. Walk that extra distance, carry those boxes, garden, clean your house, avoid sitting for long periods. Get up and move. If you feel strong, flexible, stable on your feet, and have stamina to do everything you want, that sounds healthy.
  • Maintain relationships with people you know, like, and trust. Spending time with people who don’t treat you well, or create stress for you, won’t have a positive effect on your health.
  • Feed your spirit. Feeling centered in faith or purpose gives life meaning and direction. Following your moral and personal compass sets the tone for how you treat and work and live your life with others in your home and community.
  • Address medical needs and maintain regular visits with physicians and dentists. As noted above, disease and illness can lurk without a person knowing. When you keep up to date with visits, your chances of managing a chronic illness is much, much better.

Make the Choice for Good Health

Good health provides no guarantees and applies to a moment in time. We can see when in a person’s eyes, in their smile, in their walk and tone of voice if they feel in good health.

The choices we make to live in good health are small decisions we make each moment of every day. What we put in our mouths, the actions we take, the words we say, and the way we take care of our bodies all signal the status of our health. Disease and infirmity are the only aspects we cannot have absolute control over. That’s why it is so important to see a physician and a dentist.

Even if you don’t have health insurance, affordable medical care is possible. Healthcare services are available for people without insurance through the Community Care program at HOPE Healthcare Services in Avon, Indiana, Hendricks County.

HOPE Healthcare Services is a faith-based organization. We know the importance of nutrition, exercise, medical, and spiritual balance and strive every day to help those in need. Call us at 317-272-0708 for more information.

Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.