I use the term “Optimum Health” frequently. After all, health matters… And when it comes to our health, mediocrity and compromise have no place. Optimum Health is a real-world personal goal that I embrace, and it is also my chosen professional mission as I seek to empower others to achieve and maintain Optimum Health.
Necessarily, I have spent countless hours contemplating Optimum Health, the prerequisites for Optimum Health, and also the path to achieve it. It’s what I do. Indeed, our bodies have imperfections and limitations. However, each of us can and should pursue Optimum Health. Let me explain this philosophy further…
One of the helpful approaches to understanding Optimum Health is to acknowledge what it is NOT. We are NOT in Optimum Health if we are experiencing any one of the following 3:
- Pain. If you have knee pain, back pain, chest pain, a headache or sore throat, it is obvious that you are not in Optimum Health.
- Discomfort. Feeling fatigued, short of breath, overweight, weak, lethargic, sleepy, hungry, angry, anxious, tired, sad, or having difficulty with walking, bending, stooping are all types of discomfort that signal a lack of health.
- Absence of well-being. This is missing something that should be there. Lacking joy, energy, sexual health, enthusiasm, peace, vitality, fitness, creativity, quality sleep, a normal mood, or just having a sense that yes, indeed, you are enjoying the most optimum health possible. Or, it may be more subtle, such as an elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, or some other surprising test abnormality without symptoms.
These distinct types of symptoms and findings are common examples of what I address with people who are pursuing Optimum Health. Let’s now examine what IS “Optimum Health”. Optimum Health of the body has 2 and only 2 primary components:
- Optimum Body Composition. We cannot be in great health if our body composition and content is skewed out of normal ranges. For example, if someone has a muscle deficiency, fatigue and weakness will prevail over vitality and strength. If someone has a key nutrient deficiency (like iron, vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids), risk of cancer, fatigue, depression, and dementia can skyrocket! Likewise, if the disease of excess body weight occurs (overweight or obesity), the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and fatigue all become unacceptably high. Body content and composition matters!
- Optimum Body Function. Body function is our ability to have normal body processes, like circulating blood and oxygen to all our tissues, and also the ability for normal body activities, like running from a burning building should the need arise. It also includes that internal sense that “Yes, my body is functioning as it was intended. I am in great health.” We seem to just “know” when our body is functioning as intended. With optimum body function, physical measures of health are also within normal ranges (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, waist circumference, strength, etc).
If you find yourself in the common situation of NOT experiencing Optimum Health, with some aspect of health gone astray, don’t be discouraged. It turns out the human body is typically very forgiving and anxious to heal if we care for it properly. Although prescription medications can help at times, like fighting off an infection causing a painful ear or throat, most of the common body abnormalities in America that rob us of Optimum Health, if addressed in a timely manner, are under our influence and can be managed (Note: some cancers, autoimmune diseases, heart rhythm irregularities, etc must be managed with modern medical treatments, but still may benefit from personal health pursuits. These conditions may outline personal limits for Optimum Health.).
You may need guidance, support, and problem solving assistance to discover the proper tools and strategies for success on your journey. This may be especially true if you have a stubborn issue like being overweight. However, regardless of the challenges, relentlessly pursue the two components of Optimum Health: Optimum Body Composition and Optimum Body Function. Overcoming all obstacles and embracing health-promoting routines to experience the reward of great health is worth the effort.
For Optimum Health,
Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H.