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4 Pillars of Great Health

by | Fitness, General, Health, Nutrition, Stretching

How do you know if you’re healthy, if you have mastered the pillars of great health? Blood tests in range? Nothing hurts? You don’t have any named diseases that you know of? You can run a marathon?

Let’s face it: Good health is hard work.

It’s kind of a tricky question to answer, but in my world as a chiropractor, there are a few basic meter sticks that seem to be consistent with excellent health and longevity.


Having adequate muscle strength and doing resisted activities is the first of the 4 pillars of great health. You need muscle strength for good posture, body control, and just doing all the things you want to as you age. Resisted activities like weightlifting help to build and maintain strong bones as well.


Do an Internet search of the oldest healthiest people on earth. What do you see? An awful lot of yoga and other types of stretching going on. Staying flexible allows for a full free range of motion in your joints and muscles. Flexibility–the second of 4 pillars of great health–allows for good circulation, lymph flow, and protection from injury. You are never too old to regain flexibility. Just like developing strength, the most important aspect of regaining flexibility is the discipline to keep showing up and working on it.

woman in brown and white floral dress demonstrating flexibility (one of the pillars of great health) in a yoga pose


We live a very asymmetric life. From something as simple as being right or left handed to having a favorite seat to always crossing our legs one way to having phones that make us push our heads forward and down, we are involved in daily habits that create asymmetry in our muscles and joints.

Add in the asymmetry caused by injuries to these same muscles and joints, and the vast majority of us have lost symmetry in posture and function. As a chiropractor, I have spent my career literally getting asymmetric muscle and joint function out of the way of the nerves of the body so the nerves can transmit their vital messages to the body unhindered.


Closely linked with symmetry is the last of the 4 pillars of great health: balance. Without symmetry, balanced function is close to impossible. However, they are not the same thing. I know plenty of symmetric people with unbalanced musculoskeletal function. They all go by the same name: “chiropractic patients.” Retraining balanced function is difficult and requires almost daily work. Core training, aerobic exercise, and all the pillars above are needed to make this pillar possible.

man walking on forest log demonstrating good balance as one of the pillars of great health

A Couple of Additional Comments

There are other critical pieces to maintaining health long into our senior years. Among them are the following:

Focus on possibilities instead of limitations. Stretch your brain through neuroplasticity work. Know there is something greater than you in charge of the universe.

Aiming at these four pillars (and the additional pieces as well!) is not a guarantee of a long, healthy life, but it is definitely a road that is more likely to take you there.

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