In the past, good health was defined as the absence of disease. Today, we acknowledge that good health is more complex than just being free of illness. Physical health, mental and emotional health, and social health vitally contribute to overall wellbeing.
The Integrated Whole
Physically, a health body functions well. You can complete everyday tasks without becoming overly tired. A healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and proper medical and dental care are all important for physical health.
Mentally, a healthy mind enjoys a comfortable relationship with self, others, and our surroundings. We stay alert, learn from mistakes, and recognize our achievements.
Emotionally healthy people respond appropriately to feelings and circumstances and events in their lives.
Socially healthy people interact well with others. We develop loving relationships, respect the rights of others, give and receive assistance. Building healthy relationships with family and friends is important for social health.
Monitor Risks Early and Often
So, good health looks like all of the above, yet, risk factors can affect each of these facets of our good health. While we cannot control some risk factors, such as genetics, we can control lifestyle habits, diet, physical activity, and sleep. Quality of life begins with a proactive approach to health. By making good lifestyle choices during the twenties, thirties, and forties, the risk for chronic health problems is reduced and the chance for a long, healthy life is improved.
Weight On It
Maintain a healthy weight as being overweight or obese increases the risk for chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer that have a negative impact on daily life. Eat healthy meals that meet the nutritional needs of the body to maintain good health and wellbeing. Meals should include plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and low or nonfat dairy products. It is important to limit the intake of processed foods and fast foods and reduce the amount of salt in the diet (Family Doctor).
Regular exercise has many health benefits as it helps the body look and feel better, improves mood, and lowers the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and osteoporosis. The USDA recommends 30–60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the per week (USDA Guidelines).
Sleep It Off
Attain the recommended amount of sleep because the body repairs itself during rest. Most adults aged 26-64, require 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function at their best. Recommended guidelines for infants and older adults are available on the Sleep Foundation website.
Diagnostic tests and screening procedures to maintain good health are mandatory and will vary depending upon factors such as family and personal medical history, age, and overall health and personal risk behaviors. As the body ages, often additional risks for certain diseases occur.
Regular checkups are vital for good health. Follow these guidelines recommended by the Cleveland Clinic during the twenties, thirties, and forties:
Starting at age twenty, incorporate regular testing. For women, for example, a pap smear to detect cervical cancer should be done every three years, or as instructed by the doctor. Through regular skin cancer screenings, check for melanoma. Perform self-checks between doctor’s visits by looking for irregular moles, spots, or bleeding. Doctors also recommend annual blood pressure and cholesterol tests starting at twenty to check for any risks of heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure.
Continue with the tests that are done during the twenties (pap smear, skin cancer, blood pressure, and cholesterol), and start getting a thyroid test as this gland produces hormones that regulate vital body functions including: metabolism, breathing, heart rate, nervous system, body weight, and muscle strength.
Testicular cancer is a health concern for men in their thirties. The incidence rate of testicular cancer increased in the US for several decades with about 1 in every 250 males developing the disease. Sadly, this cancer affects mainly young and middle-aged men, with the average age of diagnosis at 33 (American Cancer Society). As with cervical cancer, early detection increases the chances of survival.
Continue with all previous tests and women should include a mammogram on a regular basis to detect breast cancer in early stages. In between mammograms, perform regular self-breast exams.
In conclusion, even if feeling fine, it is necessary to see the physician for regular checkups. These visits can help avoid problems in the future. See the dentist once or twice every year for an exam and cleaning. If experiencing vision problems, an eye exam should be done at least every two years or more often if recommended by the provider. Taking good care of the body, mind, and spirit should be a priority.