• Valerie Martinez

The Key to Longevity? The 4 Pillars of Health

You may have heard something like "muscles are made in the kitchen" after complaining to a friend that you've been regularly exercising without seeing the results you're looking for. While it can be frustrating not to see the results of your consistent exercise, the truth is that there are many pieces of the wellness puzzle to consider: Also known as the "four pillars of health."


In this blog from the Trusted Referral Network, we'll explain the science behind the four pillars of healthy living and how this approach to well-being can promote healthy longevity.


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What Are the Four Pillars of a Healthy Lifestyle?

  1. Nutrition

  2. Exercise

  3. Relaxation

  4. Sleep

Nutrition


In many ways, the human body is like an engine –– and that engine needs fuel to function properly. While any type of food will keep this "engine" running, those living on a poor diet will find that they operate far worse than those with the nutritional knowledge to make healthy eating decisions. Making a conscious effort to eat better foods won't just improve your exercise performance; it has also been proven to improve your brain function. Further, a diet consisting of refined sugars can even worsen the symptoms of depression.


Exercise


Exercise is likely the pillar of health most people are familiar with, as a study looking at New Year's resolutions revealed that 50% of those surveyed said they wanted to exercise more. Physical activity is a vital component of a healthy life for many reasons, and it's about more than burning calories. When you build muscle, your body (the engine we mentioned earlier) becomes more efficient and can burn even more fat and calories while improving exercise performance.


Even more important, regular physical activity releases endorphins which help your brain deal with stress –– meaning exercise can make you happier. Exercise can also improve your inner sense of self, resulting from the feeling of personal accomplishment that improved exercise performance can bring. This doesn't mean you have to join a gym immediately or start training for a marathon. Rather, find a physical activity that you enjoy and commit to doing it regularly.


Relaxation


Yes, "taking it easy" is a component of a healthy lifestyle! As it turns out, relaxation has many long-term health benefits –– including lowering your blood pressure, improving your digestive health, and even relieving chronic pain. Making a conscious effort to unwind after a long or stressful day by focusing on your breathing or reading a book can prevent many risk factors in the long run.


Sleep


Sleep accounts for roughly 33% of your entire life, so it should come as no surprise that this pillar of a healthy life is so important. Unfortunately, we have grown quite accustomed to scrolling on social media or watching TV in bed, which can limit our ability to get a good night's sleep. Artificial light at night (ALAN) has been proven to disrupt circadian rhythms. Staring at screens at bedtime can also be harmful for the simple reason that it can mean getting fewer hours of sleep.


How You Can Improve Your Own Four Pillars


Being conscious of the four pillars is one thing –– and paying attention to them in your life is another challenge entirely. However, you can make strides toward a long and healthy life by engaging in moderate-intensity aerobic activity, making appropriate dietary choices, focusing on your mental health, and getting proper sleep.


For more ways to improve all four pillars of your physical and mental health, visit theTrusted Referral Network and read through our catalog of wellness resources.


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Resources:

1.https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food

2.https://time.com/5753774/new-years-resolutions-exercise/

3.https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/

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