We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. [Aristotle]
In our beautifully diverse and ever-changing world, there’s one thing that connects all human beings: We are all products of our environment.
Our environment affects the way we move, sleep, think, feel, and nourish our bodies. From a holistic standpoint, our unique reactions to our surroundings impact our physical health. For instance, sudden disruptions to your usual routine, like those we experienced during COVID-19, can cause erratic sleep patterns, add stress, decrease activity, or spur unhealthy eating habits. Even if you haven’t consciously noticed, these changes can take a toll on your immunity—right when you need it most.
The good news? You can rebuild positive habits to boost your immunity. Let’s get started with some information that many take for granted.
OUR BODIES RESPOND TO OUR ENVIRONMENT
It’s vital to note that COVID-19 is not the first pandemic, and it won’t be the last. Currently, there are various hypotheses about when a COVID-19 vaccine may be ready, but no date is certain. That’s why it’s crucial that we start a conversation about how we can protect our health now.
Of course, not all illnesses are deadly pandemics. Yet, even common culprits like bacteria and short-lived viruses or ailments can wear us down.
Luckily, we humans have an evolutionary perk to help us along—resilience. When our bodies become vulnerable, our immune response is ‘hard-wired’ to kick in. The marvel of our innate immune system is its ability to manage ever-changing signals from our environment. How does it do this?
Our bodies have a complex system working in tandem with the nervous and immune system. This is called our endocrine system.
The endocrine system is the regulatory system that manages our hormones. Hormones are the biochemical messengers that the body produces in response to the signals that it receives.
There is very little not influenced by hormones. The body uses hormones to create genetic changes in cells and within systems. Therefore, the effect of a hormone is based on the what ‘trigger’ or signal it receives. These triggers may be bad or good, affecting us for better or for worse.
Since hormones respond to good and bad signals, which types of signals do you want to send?
Your genetics load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger. [Dr. Mehmet Oz]
INPUT, OUTPUT, AND EPIGENETICS
Did you know that your genes literally change based on signals they receive from the environment?
Epigenetics (epi meaning above, outside of, or around) is the scientific model of understanding how these environmentally-influenced genetics undergo changes.
The revelation of epigenetics is astounding: We’re far more in control of our bodies than most of us realize. Indeed, our behaviour, environment, and habits can be utilized to improve our immunity and brain power.
We are not slaves to our genetics.
Here’s how it works. To change the expression of our genes, you must start with changing your actions. Since single actions aggregate over time, taking small actions regularly can signal our genes to change via the responding hormones.
For example, choosing a single healthy meal may be a good choice. However, it won’t have nearly the same impact on our gene expression as smaller nutritional changes done consistently over time. It’s just as Aristotle said, “We find excellence in habits, not in single actions.”
For instance, our Health Coaches at SoleFit provide Performance and Recovery Assessment using advanced tools within our Recovery Lounge. Through our own experiences and experimentations, we’ve come across many daily, simple habits that could fortify immunity and improve physiological function. Here are a few that you can start doing today!
HABIT STACKING: DAILY GOOD ACTIONS THAT BRING RESULTS
Want to send positive signals to your body that can change your genes for the better? Try these simple routines. Do them often, and they’ll become effortless habits!
Taking a moment before rushing into another busy day can help change the chemistry of body for the good and upregulate immunity, lower stress levels,and positively influence brain function.
Lots of great studies showing the benefits of grounding. Barefoot on the grass is ideal but grounding mats can be an alternative option for those who spend much of the time indoors.
*Side Note: As foot experts, we can’t resist pointing out the shape of the children’s feet in this picture vs the adults. Love to see the nicely shaped toes that haven’t been altered by ill fitting footwear! 😉
To get the benefits of cold water therapy, you don’t necessarily need to take an ice water plunge. Even splashing some cold water on your face and neck can be a great start!
MASTER OF MY FATE, CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL
William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus represents the power within us to shape our destiny. As the science of epigenetics advances, we understand how changing our environment can shape our biology. Ideally, we can shed poor habits that expose us to health risks, because they are not aligned with our natural, physiological needs. Likewise, we can learn to enhance our body’s built-in resilience and adopt healthy habits that benefit our bodies.
That said, every practice listed in this blog need not be done to see results. But think of it this way: Each healthy habit points the needle in the right direction on the dial from sick, to well, to fit.
Your body deserves your loving commitment to it. In return, your body gives you a healthier, more resilient you.
For your personal health goal in 2020, think of this: In order to love and take care of others, you must first love and take care of yourself. Imagine the positive impact we could have in the world if we all thought of our health as a collective goal for humankind.
RESOURCES TO HELP YOUR GROWTH
SoleFit’s mission is to empower you with the knowledge and confidence you need to understand your body, its movement, and your overall health. We hope this blog and our other resources help put you on the right path to greater mental and physical health. If you have questions about how SoleFit can help you, contact us today. We’d love to hear from you!