March into Health
We have officially wrapped up Fitness February and let’s take that momentum and March into Health! To kick off this first week of March into Health, it is essential for us to talk about the five pillars of optimal health. “What are these pillars?” you may ask. The five pillars are the foundation that you need in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Much like the three pillars of fitness that we discussed last month, these pillars are heavily dependent on each other. When one pillar is non-existent or weaker than the others, your foundation is going to be unstable. When your foundation is shaky this can lead to a multitude of things: irritability, grogginess, poor posture, pain or discomfort, injury, obesity, and even more serious health issues in some cases. With that in mind, it is important to establish such a strong foundation within these five pillars so that it is unlikely that you will come across any of these issues. There is no time like the present, even if you missed Fitness February, take this month as an opportunity to strengthen your health in many different aspects. Starting with your awareness of the Five Pillars of Optimal Health
1. Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors specialize in the spine. The spine has 2 functions— It keeps us upright through our posture and it also protects the spinal cord. A healthy spinal cord is essential to our overall health. The way your body works is the brain controls all the functions of your body. It does that by sending energy down the spinal cord. The spinal cord is like a river carrying energy from the brain, through the spine to all the vital organs and tissues of our body. Each and every cell is totally dependent on that energy to keep us alive and healthy. Because of different stresses in our lives, some sudden and some over time, the individual bones or whole sections of the spine can shift out of place. These shifts in the spine are called subluxations. When subluxations occur, they block the energy to the organs at that level. It’s like a dimmer switch on a wall. The energy gets turned down, it can’t get through the nerves to the organs, and the organs at the end of those nerves progressively weaken and degenerate over time and may cause disease. Subluxated areas of the spine will also weaken the rest of the structure of our spine and distort our posture. When our posture weakens and distorts it causes stress to the spinal cord. When our spinal cord is under stress it can’t move energy through the spine to all the vital organs of the body. When the organs don’t get the vital energy they need, your overall health will progressively weaken and degenerate over time. Many postural distortions don’t cause any pain. By the time you are in pain, your body is already in a state of crisis. Optimal health includes correcting subluxations and maintaining a healthy posture with corrective chiropractic care. Chiropractic can be a family affair and is safe for all generations. Different treatments are done based on exam findings and age.
2. Adequate rest: Sleep is an essential part of life. Our bodies need time to rest and repair itself. The side effects of inadequate sleep are extremely negative towards your health. Some side effects include memory issues, mood swings, trouble with concentration, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, poor balance, and more. It is vital to have a proper sleep schedule established in order to reap the many benefits that it brings: improved mood, memory, and concentration, reduced stress, improves social skills, increases immunity, and more. The average person needs anywhere between 6-8 hours of sleep each night.
3. Stress management: Life is full of stressors: work, relationship, school, finances, family. To be in a constant state of stress can lead to life-threatening issues like a heart attack or stroke. To be in a constant state of stress means for your body to be in this constant “fight” mode. Your body is on high alert continuously and rarely finds time to relax. This act takes an intense toll on the body as a whole and can lead to some serious issues. However, stress is not all bad. Stress can help us create a sense of urgency when it comes to completing a task. It can also help us remain at a more aware state, ultimately improving cognitive function. But when stress remains in a constant state that is when you begin to see the more negative effects. Managing stress is an important life task that everyone should prioritize. Stress management can consist of talking to a therapist, getting a massage, meditating, yoga, visiting your chiropractor, or even just drawing yourself a warm bath at the end of a hard day. Stress management methods can look different in each person, the important thing is that you find time to wind your mind and body down after a long day.
4. Consistent Exercise: Exercise is a staple when it comes to benefiting your health. Last month we talked about discovering, establishing, and sticking to your fitness goals. When you begin to find what method of exercise works best for you and what time compliments it, your body will reap the benefits. You will notice your physical appearance changing, your energy will improve, your mood will improve, and your cognitive function will improve as well. Make it a priority to get your body moving for at least 30 minutes each day and watch nearly every aspect of your life take positive turns.
5. Proper Nutrition: Nutrition is an essential pillar in any aspect of health. Count how many carbohydrates you eat. Carbohydrates should mainly come from whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Also eat organic proteins and fats, organic fruit and vegetables, and foods that are low in inflammatory properties. If you do not fuel your body with the best nutrients that it desires, you will feel a difference in your day-to-day routines. As we have said before, “you are what you eat so don’t be fast, cheap, or fake.” This is something that you should say to yourself every time you are about to eat. By creating this sort of mantra and repeating to yourself often then you are more likely to find yourself living by the quote. There is this scenario that I read about in a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. His book revolves around the act of building new habits and breaking old ones. In his book, Clear talks about one woman who wanted to lose 100 pounds and change her lifestyle into a more healthy one. Every time this woman was faced with a decision she would ask herself, “what would a healthy person do?” Just by making this small habit, she was able to fix a magnitude of habits following it, including losing those 100 pounds. This goes to show that just by creating a minor saying that you can repeat to yourself daily has the power to alter your entire lifestyle if you consistently practice it.
Keeping these five pillars in balance is key to optimal health! Prevention truly is the best medicine. For next week’s March into Health topic, we will be evaluating our daily routines and how they affect our health.
Disclaimer: Establishing and strengthening these pillars will not cure any underlying illness; however, in some cases, they can help reduce the risk of further developing them.