The Pillars of Good Health
With so many different ways to improve your well-being (and so many fitness trends vying for your attention), it can be hard to know where to start on your path to healthy living.
Today we're taking it back to basics with four foundational principles of good health.
Quality sleep is at the very core of any healthy lifestyle. In fact, if you're not getting enough sleep, the chances are it's going to be harder to be successful in your other healthy habits!
Your body does an incredible job at healing itself from daily wear and tear during sleep, helping you fight off illness and restore your energy levels. While you snooze, your body repairs your cells, organizes information, reduces inflammation and much more. It's a critical time for recovering from your workouts, helping you cope better with stress and processing emotions from the day.
Poor sleep has been linked to higher risk of disease, mental illness, depleted energy and a weakened immune system. Simply put, without sleep your body simply can't function as it should, and you're bound to notice the effects.
What should you do if you can't sleep at night?
If you're having trouble sleeping
- Wind down: Lower the lights and take a hot bath, read a light-hearted book or listen to calming music to send signals to your body that it's time to sleep.
- Be meticulous about your sleep routine: Set your alarm to wake up at the same time everyday, including weekends. While it might seem tough at first, getting into a strict schedule will help your body feel tired at the right time for sleep.
- Spend time outside: Help your body regulate its circadian rhythm by spending time outside every day, even just for a short walk.
- Reduce screen time: With bright lights and exciting content on the internet, hours scrolling on your phone before bed can send mixed signals when it's time to go to sleep. Try avoiding screen time for at least an hour before sleep.
- Optimize your surroundings: Make sure your room is the right temperature for sleep (around 18°C / 65°F) and dark enough for you to dose off soundly.
Still having trouble sleeping? Check out this step by step guide to getting a better night's rest.
Getting a healthy diet, and focusing on nutrient-packed foods can do wonders for every aspect of your wellbeing from your energy levels, immune system, skin, mood and much more.
To make good nutrition sustainable, consider what you can add to your diet (rather than what you have to restrict). Check out this healthy eating grocery guide for inspiration next time you hit the supermarket.
When practiced regularly, exercise has a long list of health benefits that go well beyond weight loss. Exercise can boost your mood, reduce your risk of disease, improve heart health, help you sleep better and so much more.
Pro tip: Small daily goals can transform your wellbeing. From a walk in the fresh air, yoga practice before bed or your 7 minute workout, every little helps.
Seven's personalized plans take out the guesswork so you can focus on what's important. Simply decide on your goal, choose a schedule and Seven will create a plan to help you reach your target 💪
Stress is natural, and in small doses can be helpful for productivity. However, prolonged stress can have an array of negative consequences on both physical and mental health.
Some common symptoms of stress are irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, teeth grinding and insomnia. Here are some of our tips on how to stop the effects of stress before they start:
- Get active: Working out produces feel-good endorphins which counter stress by making you feel happier and calmer.
- Prioritize sleep: Aim for 8-9 hours of good sleep per night. Feeling rested will help you tackle challenges that come your way with energy and focus.
- Spend time in nature: Being out in nature has been shown to have restorative effects such as reducing stress hormones and improve mindfulness.
- Make time for you: Self care looks a little bit different for everyone, but making time for yourself (even if it’s just 10 minutes) every day can make all the difference.
- Set boundaries: Taking on too much? Drawing boundaries can help you re-prioritize, so you have enough energy for the tasks you really need to complete.
There you have it, the four foundational pillars of healthy living! In practice, they're often interwoven. For example, once you start sleeping better, you'll have more energy for your workouts and won't be tempted by unhealthy food.
If you're not sure where to begin, focus your energy on improving one of these areas, and soon you'll notice the rest gradually becoming easier too.