Many people may look at someone who LOOKS to be fit and aspires to that as the pinnacle of health. Having been through the gamut of bodybuilding, transitioning to CrossFit and functional fitness, I can personally attest to a new perspective on what we could aspire to as the pinnacle of health. I would say that the pinnacle of health allows for a high quality of life above all else. For me, that means balance, freedom from extremes, restrictions, and limitations. I would also venture to say that for most people, living a quality of life would mean the ability, capability, and means to live a lifestyle in which you can do what you want when you want to do it and be able to maintain said lifestyle. I like to call this a lifestyle of total health: mind, body, and spirit through physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. In terms of physical health, wellness and fitness it is the ability to be able to move how you want when you want. If you want to you can go for a run, a hike, take a fitness class, play a sport, or enjoy paddle boarding, biking, movement, play and sport of any kind you desire without limitation or restriction. It isn't necessarily about being the fastest, leanest, strongest, or having the most endurance, it's about enjoying movement, moving well and moving often and a level of wellness and fitness that allows you to do such physical activity.
I would also say that the pinnacle of health would involve balancing optimal nutrition and social life. This is because of our nutrition and our physical health play a role and impact our mental health. Having the ability to enjoy a social life without restrictions and limitations from your fitness lifestyle. Being able to hang out with friends and family and go to events and gatherings free from anxiety and restriction, being able to choose to eat healthily, or enjoy a treat at a bridal shower in moderation. This also means eating in a way that sustains your life, your goals, while maintaining a physique at healthy body fat and healthy body weight. Weight and body composition are not the ends all be all of health, however excess body weight and body fat do impose health complications for your cardiovascular system, your musculoskeletal system as well as your vital organs in your body.
While being overweight and having some body fat doesn't necessarily mean you are unhealthy, we must take into consideration that our bodies aren't made to carry or support excessive body weight or body fat so there is a healthy level of weight and body fat, somewhere in the middle of the extremes. Enjoying good mental health is also involved in the pinnacle of health. I include the cognitive function and emotional management under the umbrella of mental health as our thoughts often influence our emotions. So being able to manage your mental game, in ways such as your choice of perspective in a growth mindset and gratitude attitude. Being effectively manage your emotions, not letting your emotions control you.
Good sleep hygiene is also critical to health! To be well, we must incorporate rest and recovery. Sleep is our #1 performance enhancer mentally, emotionally, and physically. Have you ever noticed how after a poor night's sleep, or lack of sleep, you craving more unhealthy foods, you are cranky and emotional as well as lack energy and vitality to do anything? Because sleep is important for our physical bodies and brains, as well as the mental functioning. Another aspect of the pinnacle of health is spiritual health. We are spiritual beings, we are a spirit in a body. Our life isn't just about us, it is about serving something greater than just ourselves. Having and enjoying a close relationship with God is the most important thing in life. So to summarize, the pinnacle of health is feeling your best mind, body, and spirit: taking care of your physical health, rest and recovery, nutrition, mental health and belonging to a group of people whether that's friends or family that are supportive, encouraging and accepting.
Charissa Sutliff is an Online Fitness & Nutrition Development Coach, a Competition Prep Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology. She also holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. She is enthusiastic about faith, working out, healthy nutrition, meditating, learning, growing and coffee!