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Pillar Of Health: Environment

healthy living life philosophy pilates pillar of health

It's your lucky day cause it's time to look at another Pillar of Health

Today we'll be talking about - drumroll please...

ENVIRONMENT

 

I think we can probably agree that environmental factors affect our health, right? Actually a study has even shown that “70-90% of disease risks are due to differences in environments” compared to genetic factors.

Did you realise the percentage was that high? I sure didn't.

 

Here are a few of the environmental factors I’m talking about:

  • Pollution and air quality
  • Poor water quality
  • Car exhaust
  • Noise pollution
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Food Safety
  • Stress
photo by Pablo Stanic

 

I call these MACRO environmental factors.

 

In my mind there are also MICRO environmental factors (and some of them overlap with the macro). These are things that are closer to us on an everyday scale and include but are not limited to:

  • Food (you are what you eat)
  • Cleaning products
  • Fresh air
  • Sunshine
  • Our interior space, i.e. our homes 
  • Smoking (and second hand smoke)
  • Medications (specifically their unwanted side effects)
  • Technology and again...
  • Stress (it's everywhere)
photo by Kelly Sikkema
photo by Andres Siimon
photo by Adam Nieścioruk 
photo by Marvin Meyer

 

Do you think of environmental factors and their relationship to our health as very modern and recent issues?

Funnily enough Joseph Pilates touched on them in his manifesto Return To Life which remember he wrote back in 1945.

 “Admittedly, it is rather difficult to gain ideal physical fitness under the handicap of daily breathing the soot-saturated air of our crowded and noisy cities. On the other hand, we can more quickly realise this ambition if we are privileged to breathe the pure fresh air of the country and forests without the accompaniment of the traffic roar of the city which constantly tends to keep our nerves strung taut. Even those of us who work in the city and are fortunate enough to to live in the country must counteract the unnatural physical fatigue and mental strain experienced in our daily activities. Telephones, automobiles, and economic pressure all combine to create physical letdown and mental stress so great that today practically no home is entirely free from sufferers of some form of nervous tension.”

 Joe Pilates, ahead of his time yet again!

Does anybody out there feel like they have a wee bit of 'nervous tension' in their lives?🙃

photo by Siavash Ghanbari 

 

Is your environment supporting your health? Specifically how's your MICRO environment? 

What can you do to mitigate the more negative aspects of your physical space. 

And is it possible that some of these things can improve your Pilates practice?

Here's what I think:

I admit it takes a lot of conscious effort to live a healthful life and sometimes it’s just too much freaking trouble; it can actually be pretty exhausting.

I’m not advocating a huge revolution here but there are a surprising number of simple things we can do that will most definitely help:

  • Open your windows - yep, fresh air circulation! 

 

  • Cover up any bleeding lights when you sleep (except the smoke detector 🔥 ) - in our previous house I could sense the blue glow from our oven clock even though the kitchen was down the hallway and there was no direct sight line between the oven and my bed. My solution? cover it up with a tea towel. In hotel rooms I’m constantly obscuring the red light from the TV especially since it’s usually at the foot of the bed and is inescapable, I also shroud the clock radio dial or at least turn it to face away from me. Light pollution messes with our circadian rhythms and melatonin levels!

 

  • Relatedly, due to the blue light, power down your technology 2-3 hours before bed - I sooooooo struggle with this and when hubby tells me that I’m breaking my own self-imposed rule what do I say back? “Yep you're right, I should” and then I keep on scrolling! However, before bed I'm really good at putting my phone on airplane mode, powering it off, and then leaving it in another room, and in the morning try really hard to give myself at least 1/2 hour before I turn it back on.

 

 

  • Decrease the number of chemicals in your cleaning supplies, I love my white vinegar, bicarbonate, and for mould, clove oil.

 

  • Decrease the toxic load of your personal care products. There are so many now that are free of sulphates, parabens, silicones, artificial colours, and fragrance. Remember your skin is considered your biggest organ so what you put on it matters. Did you know in the US ‘fragrance’ is where companies can hide chemicals because of a loophole that lets them claim it as a trade secret?😱

 

  • Finally (and this is where I’ll make the Pilates link) make sure that you feel comfortable in your space, yep interior design can affect your health and your ability to heal if you’re recovering from surgery or being sick. Whatever your style - zen minimalism or crazy colours and throw pillows everywhere - you need to feel like your home is a place you can decompress, feel totally comfortable, and find some peace. (Here is where I so want to insert a snarky comment about "making your home a sanctuary" but I'll refrain) This idea of Sanctuary should also apply to the space you practice Pilates. Do you have a lovely view from your mat? Is it quiet space? Are you pretty much distraction free? (fur babies excepted of course) Do you look forward to lying down on your mat and if not, what can you do to change that feeling??? Here's a whole blog post I wrote on the topic.

 


 

 

Now, this Pillar of Health is such a humongous topic and I've only scratched the surface, but I’d love to hear your reaction to my ideas on how to adjust your personal micro environment to maximise your health so flick me a message.

 

Thanks for reading all the way down.

Be Well, xBec

 

 

 

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and Rebecca Forde disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this post 

 

 cover & social photo by Margaret Polinder

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