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Here at Movement Medicine we believe the best approach to overall health and wellbeing is one that addresses the whole person. Being healthy is more than just exercising and eating well. There are several other factors that play a crucial role in our wellness journey. If you ask 10 people what these factors are you are likely to get 10 different answers with some common themes emerging. We have chosen our “Pillars of Health” based on what we commonly see in the research and what we commonly hear from experts in our field. We have placed them in a particular order of importance with the understanding that dysfunction in one area may cause dysfunction in the others. Our pillars are as follows: Sleep, Nutrition, Movement, Mentality and Socialization. 

Sleep is our most important pillar because poor sleeping habits have been shown to disrupt hormones that control hunger and body composition, decrease motivation to exercise, decrease emotional control, and increase stress hormones. So when you are looking to make some healthy changes to your lifestyle, start with sleep. 

 

Nutrition is our second pillar and the reason for this is simple. You can't out-exercise a bad diet. Many people work so hard in the gym only to see very little results or results that eventually plateau once your body has adapted to your new routine. Save yourself the headache and dial in that nutrition so you can truly see your hard work paying off. 

 

Movement is our third pillar. We say movement rather than exercise because that is what humans are supposed to do. Exercise is a man-made construct. Don’t get me wrong. I love working out. But for many it's just not their thing and rightfully so. In order for exercise to be sustainable it must be fun. So get out there and do whatever it is you love doing and try to do it everyday. 

 

Mentality is our fourth pillar. This can be one of the hardest pieces to the health and wellness puzzle. Our definition of mentality is your mindset for handling everything that life throws at you. Stress management would be another good term for mentality. Creating a strong mindset is crucial for achieving your overall goals and we will give you a lot of great tips and resources for how to do this in the coming sections. 

 

Socialization is our fifth pillar. This may be one of the most overlooked aspects of wellness. The blue zone cultures (those that have the highest concentration of Centenarians or people 100+ years old) all practice really great socializing habits. They have a close circle of friends that get together regularly for dinners, walks, and good old fashion face to face conversations. A support system of people who share the same values and interests as you goes a long way in living a happy and healthy life.  

So there you have it. Movement Medicines 5 Pillars of Health in a nutshell. Below are some more specifics on each of the pillars with tips that you can start doing RIGHT NOW. ENJOY!!    

Sleep

Things you can do today to help your sleep:

  • Consistent sleep and wake cycles 

    • By going to bed and waking up at the same time every night your body/mind will begin to learn that it should be getting tired or waking up at X times. If you can stick as close as possible to this routine, even on the weekends, your sleep quality will be much easier to improve. 

  • Pitch black bedroom 

    • Tape over any lights on electronic devices (or better yet keep them out of your room altogether), dim your alarm clocks, put your cell phones on sleep mode, and use blackout curtains or sleep masks. 

Baby Sleeping
  • Temperature between 62-67 degrees Fahrenheit

    • Our core temperature drops at night which is why cold showers and cold rooms can be helpful for initiating the sleep process. Different  sources recommend different numbers but most of them are between 62 and 67 degrees. Personal preference also plays a factor as some like it a bit warmer and some like it a bit colder.

​Other sleep tips that you may find beneficial:

  • Box breathing

    • Box breathing is a relaxation technique used by many to manipulate numerous physiological variables such as heart rate, blood pressure, and the nervous system. As few as 6 repetitions have been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure in the short term.  

    • The exhale will be the key when trying to fall asleep. When we exhale we stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system (aka rest and relax nervous system). So we want to make sure to exaggerate our exhale a bit more during the process.

    • To perform box breathing simply inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale through your nose for 6-8 seconds, and hold for another 4 seconds before repeating the cycle for at least 2 minutes. 

  • Blue light blocking glasses

    • Blue light blocking glasses can be helpful when it's getting close to bedtime but lights are still on in the house. Blue light from phone and computer screens is the same type of light that you get from outside during the day.  When your eyes receive this type of light, it triggers your brain to think that it is daytime. Putting your glasses on 30-60 minutes prior to going to bed can help prevent the stimulating effect our body gets from light, making it easier to get sleepy.   

    • Here is what I use. There are definitely more expensive brands but these work great for me. 

  • Chilipad 

Deeper Dive

 

Nutrition

 

Things you can do today to help your nutrition

  • Eat any kind of fruit or vegetable with every meal

    • Aim for 800 grams or about 6 cups daily (see Deeper Dive below)

  • Eat any quality protein source with every meal 

    • Aim for at least 0.7g of protein per pound of bodyweight

  • Stop drinking your calories

    • These are often overlooked calories that are full of sugar. If you’re going to drink a sweet drink it needs to count towards your daily calorie total.  I don’t know about you but I would much rather eat my  calories.  

  • Other nutrition tips that you may find beneficial

    • Hydration - at least 50% of your body weight (Ex. 170 lbs = 85 oz)

    • Tissue test - press finger firmly into your shin bone. If it stays indented then you are dehydrated

    • Urine test - Urine should be light yellow (barring taking any supplements that are going to make your urine neon-colored) 

  • Experiment with fasting progressions

    • Start with fasting between 7pm to 7am and work up to fasting between 7pm - Noon

    • Measure your blood sugar response to your most commonly eaten meals

  • Experiment with low calorie liquid meals

    • Great for gut health

    • Low calorie smoothies, bone broth, coffee + fats, and protein shakes

Deeper Dive

Fresh Produce
Musli Mix

Movement

Things you can do today to help your movement ability:

  • Walk after dinner

  • Hang from a bar for 1-2 minutes 1-2 times per day

  • Sit in a deep squat for 1-2 minutes 1-2 times per day

Other movement tips:

  • Do at least 2 days per week of any form of resistance training at moderate intensity

  • Do some form of moderate intensity aerobic exercise 5 days per week 

  • Sweat daily

  • Play!

  • Stay hydrated to help improve tissue quality which is directly related to movement (see Nutrition pillar)

  • Foam roll or massage tight regions immediately followed by end-range movements

Deeper Dive

Exercise Programming: We have you covered on exercise programs! We have some free exercise programs to get you started here.  Members get access to all of our full length exercise programs.  Our programs are ever expanding and improving to meet different goals, lifestyles, and needs.  Get signed up here, and then access our Membership programs here.

Barbell and Kettlebell Weights

Mentality

Things you can do today to help your stress management:

  • Mindful Meditation

  • Mantras and Affirmations

  • Box Breathing for down regulation

  • Do hard things

    • Get outside of your comfort zone regularly.  Accomplishing things that you previously thought were impossible builds confidence and exposes you to more life experience.  This can be anything from speaking to one new person to learning a new skill/hobby to pushing yourself through a new level of intensity in a workout​

  • Create a Power List daily:  Write down the 3 major tasks that you have to get done for the day.  Complete the list.  Do this every day.  ​

    • Keep a journal or a simple note pad to write this down on.  ​

  • Finances - have a plan​

    • Facing your finances can be a scary and daunting task, but having a plan will reduce tons of stress and help set you up for success. ​

    • Countless strategies and books have been written on finances.  The book that I found to give the best, most straightforward plan was I will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi (link below in Deeper Dive) 

Deeper Dive

Sunrise over Mountains
 
 

Socialization

 

Things you can do today to help your social interactions:

  • Accepting differences

  • Acknowledging faults

  • 5 closest friends 

    • You are the culmination of the 5 people that you spend the most time with.  Take a close look at the people you surround yourself with and ask yourself if they are on track for the type of life you want to live.​

    • Sometimes you need to search for new people to include in this circle of 5 who align more closely with your life goals.

Other Social interaction tips

  • Positivity is contagious as is negativity

  • Smile, nod, wave at a stranger

  • Random acts of kindness 

Deeper Dive

Friends Hiking