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The Four Pillars of Health • Karen Ann

The Four Pillars of Health

Their are many pillars involved in maintaining health and wellbeing.

The older I get the more I realise the importance of these four pillars of health. 

  • Breathing 
  • Sleep 
  • Nutrition
  • Movement 

Breathing has a huge impact on how we sleep. If we are breathing shallow and fast, through our mouth throughout the day this is how we will breathe while we sleep, which leads to waking up during the night, snoring and restless sleep. The following day we are tired, and make unhealthy food choices and eat high carbohydrate sugary foods. Our energy is poor hence we do not push ourselves to move or exercise.

We are now on a downward spiral, pushing ourselves day after day to keep the show on the road but with grave consequences which are detrimental to our health in the long run.

Breathing. Where healing begins 

If you look at your lifestyle and how much you talk during the day, you will notice that you are constantly breathing through your mouth. When you are under presure you breathe faster, you speak faster and you are chest breathing. Your autonomic nervous system is in the fight or flight known as the sympathetic nervous system and you are weakening your immune system.  

When you go for a walk you maybe talking, again mouth breathing. This consictency of mouth breathing becomes a habit which affects your overall health. 

As a Buteyko Breathing instructor I now realise that people need to learn how to breathe correctly. The majority of people have dysfunctional breathing and I was one of them! 

Remember how you breathe during the day is how you breathe while you sleep. Hence re educating yourself to learn how to breathe correctly will improve every area of your life.

Sleep. Where we restore.

When you learn to breathe slowly through your nose you will have a restful night sleep. You may go to bed and fall asleep with your mouth closed but wake up during the night. If you check how clear are your nostrils you will notice one or both have become  blocked.  When you wake in the morning become aware is your mouth dry. This is a sure sign you have been breathing through your mouth while sleeping.  Your mouth was not designed to breathe. Nose breathing delivers more oxygen which is key for our bodies. 

Nutrition. We are what we eat! 

Our bodies need vitamins and minerals to function. Food is where we get our energy from, hence making good healthy choices is very important. Become aware of what is on your plate for every meal. Is it supplying your body with good nutrition. Always sit to eat, in a calm relaxed state and do not forget to chew. We do not have teeth in our stomachs! 

Movement.  A fundamental aspect of life. 

Basically if we dont move we seize up. As we age it is more important to keep moving. Choose any type of exercise you like and make a habit of doing it daily. Invest in hand weights and use your muscles, this also is so important  for our bones. The more you  stretch the less stiffness you will have as you age. 

Health and wellbeing is really about implementing small managable habits into your daily life. Start with one and build. It is known as habit stacking. If you want to have health span vs life span now is the time to start building the four pillars of health. Remember no one can do it for you, so become an architect of your own health. 

If you would like help, guidance, inspiration and advise please contact me. We are all on a health journey. 

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