I write articles all the time (and read articles all the time) that talk about how to diagnose your problems, or recognize the root cause of your health issues, etc. But how do you know if you are healthy? This can be a fleeting concept for people because we are taught that if you don’t have a model body, perfectly thick hair, flawless skin, a sharp mind, perfect poop, and are happier than a clam everyday that you must have something that is unhealthy about you. I am not denying that there are clues that one can find in these concepts, but the reality is, NO ONE is “perfect” 100% of the time! So, how do you assess whether you are healthy or whether you should probably address your issues?
You don’t necessarily need to spend money on bloodwork to asses how healthy you are. Those numbers can give you interesting insight into a snapshot of what’s happening on the inside, but you get signs every day, multiple times a day that could tell you some really important things! Here are some free ways to asses your health:
- Stool- Your poop can tell you a lot about your digestion! Your gut and digestion is such a huge part of your health, that how things come out the other end can be really indicative as to whether you are functioning optimally.
- Urine– Along those same lines, you urine is a good indicator for how your detoxification systems are working and especially your kidneys. Your urine should be a clear, light yellow with no odor. If your urine is dark, you may be dehydrated or even have small amounts of blood in the urine. If you have a terrible odor that isn’t due to eating asparagus, then you may have underlying issues. If your pee is cloudy, you may have an infection.
- Strength– One of the standard tests I would perform on patients to assess where their core strength landed was a plank. If you can’t hold a plank for 1 minute or side planks for 45 seconds, then you are lacking in core strength. This is huge because maintaining core strength indicates huge health predictors in terms of quality of life. Muscle maintenance and strength often dictates if someone ends up in a nursing home. You are doing great if you can do this. If not, you are probably not ideal for basic health status from a musculoskeletal standpoint.
- Menstrual Cycle– Another great indicator of health coming from down below! Normal menstruation is indicative of normal hormone levels. Hormones rule the world and hormonal imbalance is a major part of many issues that women face in the health arena such as PCOS, fertility, thyroid function, cancer, and autoimmune disease. You should have a predictable cycle, virtually no PMS or cramping, and while it is there, you shouldn’t feel like it being there alters your daily life too much.
- Energy levels– I’m not suggesting you should feel like you’re hyped up on caffeine all day everyday, but you should wake up feeling rested, you should have energy throughout the day and your levels of fatigue should be easily addressed with more sleep, a nap, or food intake. If they are more relenting to the point where you feel like a zombie daily, never feel rested, or you feel like you could sleep for a week straight and still not be caught up, then we have a problem. Listen to this.
- Sleep– Do you fall asleep easily? Do you sleep through the night? Do you wake up rested? Then you’re good to go! If not, then you may have some underlying health issues or lifestyle issues that are keeping you from optimal health.
- Emergency contacts– Yup. Having people in your close circle is an indicator of health status. If you have close relationships with a couple people that you can turn to, then your mental and emotional health AND physiological health will be better than your counterparts. If you don’t have people close to you, then building some real friendships will instantly enhance your health.
This information isn’t rocket science, but it is extremely insightful! Hope it helps you healthy folks out there feel better about your status. If you aren’t in that group, then hopefully it gave you insight as to whether or not there are things you can use to assess how you are improving as you implement changes!