Nature – Essential Foundation of Health

By Dr. Jen O’Sullivan

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Most of us spend a good amount of time inside. We work inside, eat inside, sleep inside, and even often exercise inside. While winter months may be more difficult to spend time outside in nature, bundle up and get some fresh air! Spend time in nature daily. It will do you more good than you know.

  • Sun: 10 minutes on lower back or belly daily. In winter months this may not be possible so make sure to take some high bioavailalbe D3 and K2. Get my favorite here.
  • Earthing: Walk barefoot on grass or dirt. If it is too cold outside, you can simulate this indoors in a large planter.
  • Gardening: Work with soil without gloves.
  • Hike/Walk: Be in nature many times a week.
  • Breathwork: Practice outdoors in nature.
  • Marvel: Take time to stand in awe of the beauty that can be found all around you in nature. 

Exercise – Essential Foundation of Health

By Dr. Jen O’Sullivan

The benefits of exercise is often overlooked. More and more people are dealing with being overwhelmed, too busy, and highly stressed. Exercise may not be your go-to in order to help ease tension and calm you down, but there are 30 reasons you should consider adding a more robust exercise routine into your day and week.

  1. Improves brain health
  2. Improves mood
  3. Strengthens bones
  4. Strengthens muscles
  5. Strengthens joints
  6. Improves posture
  7. Improves sleep patterns
  8. Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
  9. Improves circulation
  10. Improves lymphatic flow
  11. Supports cellular detoxification
  12. Helps manage proper weight
  13. Reduces risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  14. Oxygenates cells for mitochondrial activity
  15. Reduces stress
  16. Improves fertility
  17. Reduces risk of cancer
  18. Lowers high blood pressure
  19. Improves longevity
  20. Supports eye health
  21. Improves skin health
  22. Builds agility
  23. Improves motivation
  24. Improves creativity
  25. Improves confidence
  26. Increases energy
  27. Decreases anxiety and depression
  28. Reduces the risk of stroke
  29. Increases healthy stem cell activity
  30. Decreases healthcare costs

What should you do? Perform sweat-inducing activities daily.

  • Walk: Walk briskly for 10-20 minutes per day.
  • Stairs: Climb 3-5 flights of stairs per day. 
  • Stretching: Stretch often. Make it a habit.
  • Lymphatic: Stimulate your lymphatic system by doing brief exercises every hour.
  • Cardio: Perform 30-60 minutes of sweat-inducing activity 2-3 times per week.
  • Weight Bearing: Use weights 2-3 times a week to strengthen bones.

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Sleep – Essential Foundation of Health

By Dr. Jen O’Sullivan

Sleep deprivation (getting less than 7 hours per session) is a major contributor to your body’s inability to adapt to stress. The more sleep you get, the better you body is able to combat stress. When you are chronically sleep deprived, you are operating as if you had two glasses of wine (source).

Two key elements to proper sleep is to get 7-9 hours of solid sleep per night, and during the day take breaks often and remember to rest.

Sleep training: If you have not been able to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, go to bed one hour earlier than normal for one week at a time until you are getting proper sleep. For example, if you tend to only get six hours per night and would like to get eight, go to bed one hour earlier than normal for one week and then on week two go to bed two hours earlier.

Ways to improve the quality and duration of your sleep:

  • Consistency: Keep on a consistent schedule.
  • Disturbances: Wear earplugs if necessary.
  • Media: Limit media 1-2 hours before bed. Remove cell phone and router from bedroom.
  • Light: Remove all blue lights from room.
  • Sunlight: Open the shades at night. Wake up less groggy by looking at daylight.
  • Food: Do not eat a large meal just before bed. A small snack is alright as long as it is under 6 grams of total sugar.
  • Water: Drink a full glass of water when you wake up in the morning to oxygenate cells.
  • Women: Women need 15-60 minutes more sleep than men due to multitasking. 

Nutrition – Essential Foundation of Health

By Dr. Jen O’Sullivan

What we eat says a lot about us, emotionally and culturally. Emotional and cultural eating may derail your ability to make wise nutrition choices. Change your identity surrounding food and claim a new identity as someone who makes excellent nutrition choices!

There are two main objectives to eating a more healthful diet: eat lots of colorful veggies and limit processed foods. Blow are five tips to help you master the nutrition foundation of health:

  • Rainbow: Focus on eating the rainbow – lots of color.
  • Processed Foods: Limit processed foods. Read all labels. See our “Avoid List”.
  • Sugar: Keep added sugars to under 25 grams per day. Limit hybridized fruits (most fruits).
  • Organic: Eat organic when possible.
  • Supplements: Use only food-sourced supplementation when needed.

Oxygen – Essential Foundation of Health

By Dr. Jen O’Sullivan

Practice deep breathing, also called breathwork, to enhance your overall health. Focus on using your diaphragm. Place your hands over your belly just below your ribcage and above your belly button. Breathe deeply in and out so that your upper belly rises and falls. Here are some helpful methods to choose from:

  • Relaxing (4-7-8): Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and out for 8 seconds.
  • Grounding: Breathe in through your nose, and out audibly through your mouth.
  • Mindful: Reverse count by breathing out on count 1 and in on 2 for three minutes.
  • Sponge: Breathe out as much air as you can by expelling all oxygen. Squeeze your lungs like wringing out a sponge, then  take a deep and full breath in.