While fitness will still be strong when anyone of the pillars is not in place, it takes all four to truly be completely fit. Those pillars are Mindset, Diet & Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep. Studies have shown that each area is important for full functioning of our body. You need each area and I need each area for optimal fitness.
Our mindset is the pilot in guiding the behavior and actions that lead to better eating, exercising and enough sleep. Good nutrition is important to feed and fuel the body. For example, you need cholesterol as a structural material for your cell walls and Vitamin B-12 as building material for the myelin on your nerve cells. Exercise is important to build strength, heart health, sound structure, brain health and more. Sleep is important for the brain too.
Each of us has different needs and different lifestyles due to our work, family and more. Making a The Four Pillars of Fitness work for you is important so that you can enjoy a quality and vital life your whole life. Let’s go through each point so that you can enact them into your life.
Pillar 1: Mindset. There are a number of ways that you can use this pillar. Attitude is one and so is belief. Both are in the same grouping. What you believe about and fitness is important regarding the kind of action you will take. If you want to have the fitness mindset, then start believing that you represent it. When you do that, then you’ll take fitness-oriented action. Mindfulness training is one way to get your into focus for fitness. Hypnosis helps in changing subconscious programming and habits. There are many way that I list in my book, ‘Mind Your Own Fitness’ that can be used.
Pillar 2: Diet and Nutrition. Many people who exercise falsely believe that they can engage in whatever food they want. To be fully fit, eating the right foods is very important. Supplementation helps to support a diet deficient in certain key nutrients. The importance of proper nutrition is that they help to create new cells, provide the right energy, keeps the body and brain fully functioning. Processed sugars actually lead to inflammation as well as brain shrinkage. Dr. Lori Shemek has a wonderful book on using nutrition to burn fat fast; ‘Fire-Up Your Fat Burn’.
Pillar 3: Exercise. Muscular strength and endurance are very important throughout our life. When we are weak and frail, injuries become more prominent. Additionally, your body and brain gets other benefits from exercise. The more intense the exercise, the more a certain gene (brain derived neurotrophic factor) is activated, which helps to create more neurons and neuroconnections. In this case, use it or lose it applies to both body and brain. Exercise makes you smarter.
Pillar 4: Sleep. Many recent studies have shown how much sleep has on our brain. Many have known this intuitively for eons. Optimal fitness cannot be had when there is a lack of sleep. It affects the mindset (Pillar 1). And this creates a “slippery slope” in fitness. Motivation wanes from wanting to workout. Cravings for simple carbs will increase. And from reading the other pillars, you know what will happen when those are not fully engaged. Get between 7-9 hours of sleep per day. If you sleep less at night, add a power nap during the day.
Each pillar I described has an effect on the others. The whole premise of the ‘The Four Pillars of Fitness’ is about systems thinking regarding fitness. Each pillar supports the others and all support the body and brain. For optimal fitness, make sure that each pillar is at its best. Get help if you need the support as well as making sure that you are consistently working towards optimal fitness.
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