Physical Health: Kvell’s 5 Pillars
Your body isn’t just a temple, it’s a vessel and it’s the only one you’ve got. Throughout your long and winding life, your body will experience ups, downs, and abrupt turns that impact your overall wellness. You’ll become ill, sustain injuries, require medical care, or just feel not-so-good at some points in your life, and that’s normal.
However, much of the physical suffering that people experience is also preventable or able to be reduced through healthy habits and choices. The air you breathe, food you eat, and life you live will all take a toll on your body. It’s what you do to reverse that impact which matters most.
What can you do to make sure your body can endure a long life of work, play, and productivity?
In this article, we’ll explore our five pillars of bodily health and help you make better decisions across the board. Let’s go!
Health Pillar 1: Hormonal Balance
Hormones are chemicals that send signals throughout the human body and affect the systems that power us. These messengers work across the brain and nerves, heart and lungs, bones, muscles, and organs. Hormones are essential to the workings of every cell, tissue, and pathway within the body. Hormones exist in every human body, regardless of age or sex, and they evolve and develop, in levels that rise and fall, with the cycles of your life.
When balanced, hormones work well to regulate the body, support all body systems, and help us feel healthy and resilient. A hormone imbalance, however, can wreak havoc within the body, as no system or facet of the body goes untouched by your hormones. A hormone imbalance can affect reproductive health and fertility, mood and mental health, weight and muscular generation, kidney and liver health, and so much more.
Hormone imbalances can be caused by a variety of factors including natural aging, stress, changes in nutrition and movement, and more. Balance is often restored through traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals, Eastern or alternative therapies (like acupuncture), or lifestyle changes that promote hormone health. This is an important topic to discuss with your doctor or wellness provider, but there are also many natural remedies and therapies you can DIY to promote a healthy hormonal balance.
Health Pillar 2: Nutritional Diet
We all know food is required to stay alive. It’s more complicated, however, to know which foods are best to support weight management, nourishment and energy, brain health, gut health, heart health and more. The food we put in our bodies can also impact other systems of the body including our hormonal and endocrine systems, and the musculoskeletal system.
The optimal diet for you is completely unique to you as an individual. There are principles like the “food pyramid” to help us along, and dietary paths like Keto, Paleo, and Veganism that are worth a try. Ultimately, it’s important to eat the right foods that will suit your lifestyle, your body’s unique ecosystem and rhythms, and what makes you feel good. With the wrong foods in your diet, you could experience weight gain, lethargy, or metabolic suffering. By choosing healthier, or better-fit foods for your body and needs, you’ll experience greater energy, weight management, a strong body, and a better quality of life. Researchers now point to dietary choices as a primary cause for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers, as well as a bevy of less serious conditions.
Health Pillar 3: Micronutrients
Your body requires both micronutrients and macronutrients to function in every way. You will need macronutrients, like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, in larger quantities to ensure daily nourishment, and the energy you need to get through the day. These macronutrients also support brain and body health, circulation, immune health and more. Macros make up most of your diet, but they’re only part of the story.
To maintain all of the systems in your body, you’ll also need a small, but important, quantity of micronutrients in your diet. Micronutrients — vitamins and minerals — are non-negotiably important, as they help you avoid disease and immune suppression. Without the right amount of micros, you’ll be at a much higher risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes.
The best way to ensure that your diet is made up of enough micro- and macronutrients to sustain your health is to keep your diet well-rounded. You’ll need healthy fats like nuts and plant-based oils, but most of your diet should consist of lean protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
Health Pillar 4: Qualitative Sleep
Sleep is so much more than a chance to rest or turn off the body and mind. In fact, your brain and body do some of their most important work during your sleeping hours. Your sleeping hours give your muscles a chance to restore themselves after a day of work. Sleep calms your nervous system, slows and resets your circulation, cools your body temperature, and performs other regulatory functions for you.
For decades, parents and teachers have lauded the importance of 8 hours of sleep. While getting enough sleep is important (and life depends on it!) it’s not just about the length of time that you’re sleeping. To be healthy, you’ll need to sleep well. Researchers are more concerned with the quality and cycle of your sleep than the hours in total.
Our bodies experience several stages of sleep, each of which serves an essential function to the body. Without a healthy sleep cycle which includes each phase below, your physical wellbeing and mental state could both be impaired the following day. These negative effects compound over time, meaning that more nights of bad sleep will add up to bigger, harder problems.
Phases of Sleep
Phase 0: Awake Time / Entering & Re-entering Sleep
Phase 0 occurs any time you’re in bed, laying down, with the intent to enter or re-enter sleep, but have not actually fallen asleep yet. This pre-phase is important because you’re setting the tone for your upcoming sleep session. Once you fall asleep, your sleep will deepen progressively from stage 1 through 3 in NREM (non-Rapid Eye Movement or non-REM) Sleep, and stage 4, REM sleep.
Phases 1-2: Light NREM Sleep
It will take 5-10 minutes for your body and mind to transition into a sleeping state. This transitory phase is known as Light NREM Sleep Phase 1. In it, your brain will produce alpha waves which can produce some pretty interesting sensations, like the feeling of falling, or involuntary jerks in the body as it pushes for rest.
Next, Phase 2 will include a 20 minute round of slightly deeper NREM sleep. In Phase 2, your heart will slow down to a sleeping rate, and your body temperature will cool. You’ll lose some awareness of your surroundings and your breathing will slow. You will spend most of your night sleeping in phase 2 sleep, as your body often returns to this phase after a REM cycle.
Phase 3: Deep NREM Sleep
This is your deepest sleeping phase. Your muscles will relax, and your blood pressure will drop. You’ll also find that a person in deep NREM sleep may not respond to noises or external stimulation around them. This is also likely the phase where you would sleepwalk, if you’re prone to do so.
Phase 4: REM Sleep
REM sleep is accountable for around 20% of your nightly sleeping experience. This phase is vastly different from the other phases of your sleeping experience, and is the phase in which you’ll dream. During this phase, your brain and breathing will become more active, while the body becomes immobilized. Your eyes, however, will move rapidly during this phase, owing to its name.
Poor sleep quality — whether too shallow, fragmented, or fitful — will stop your brain and body from resting fully, and can disrupt any of the phases above. This disruption is likely to cause morning fatigue, sluggishness, and worse. Over time, repeatedly interrupted sleep can cause bigger concerns.
What prevents good sleep?
- Lack of routine or changes in routine
- Lack of sun and fresh air
- Lack of physical activity
- Too much caffeine or late caffeine consumption
- Emotional strain
- Stress and overworking
- Environmental stimuli (temperature, light, noise)
Health Pillar 5: Physical activity
We know that staying active is one of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy. But did you know it can also improve your overall well-being and quality of life?
Grounding into the body through physical movement is a natural mood lifter. Regular physical activity can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger. You know that “feel good sensation” you get after doing something physical? Think of it as a happy pill with no side effects! Most people notice they feel better over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of their lives.
Using your body regularly keeps you physically fit and able to continue using your body. Without regular activity, your body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function properly. It’s like the old saying: you don’t stop moving from growing old, you grow old because you stop moving. Exercise increases muscle strength, which in turn increases your ability to do other physical activities including fun activities and those necessary to sustain your lifestyle.
Researchers say that physical activity also can help you:
- lower your blood pressure
- boost your levels of good cholesterol
- improve blood flow (circulation)
- keep your weight under control
- prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis
- retain flexibility and joint mobility
- prevent injuries and retain good posture
If you’re not a fan of traditional aerobic exercise or weightlifting in a gym, never fear! There are tons of fun, relaxing, challenging, or social ways to stay in motion. Team and individual sports, being active in nature, dance, yoga, and even cleaning your house are great ways to remain active. No matter what you enjoy doing, there’s a way to add movement and physicality to keep you healthy and happy.
Physical Health and the Kvell Wheel
Your physical wellness is only one of the components to being a healthy person and living a healthy life. Your emotions and mental health, spiritual health, social wellness, and financial wellness are all equally necessary to live a healthy, balanced life. With your effort, and our help, you’ll soon find a path toward better health in every category.