Healthy life – If you want to optimize your lifestyle, you usually rely on nutrition and sport. But that’s not enough for a healthy and happy life – say the supporters of the “four-pillar plan”.
Diets that fail, gym memberships that don’t get used – truly making your life better and healthier takes time and discipline. In short supply for most. The British doctor and author Rangan Chatterjee has developed a plan that is firstly more holistic and secondly does not require any major changes in stressful everyday life.
Chatterjee calls this the “4 Pillar Plan”. It is based on the right mix of relaxation, exercise, nutrition and sleep. What does that mean specifically? Here’s some inspiration from Chatterjee’s book, The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life, which has just been published by Penguin Life.
1st Pillar: Relaxation For Healthy life
Whether yoga, meditation or breathing exercises – all of this helps to calm down and relieve pent-up stress. And if possible, it should be practiced every day, even if only for a few minutes.
Chatterjee recommends spending one day a week screen-free, or at least not staring at the phone while eating. Meditation apps can also help – such as Headspace, Meditation Easy, 7Mind or Calm. It’s best to set a daily alarm clock to remind you that it’s time to take a few minutes of rest.
Of course, the daily practice of silence also works without an app and smartphone. Chatterjee recommends a 3-4-5 breath: inhale for three seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and exhale for five seconds. When you breathe out longer than you breathe in, the relaxation part of the nervous system activates.
2nd Pillar: Movement
How many steps can you take a day? You can skip the elevator and take the stairs, walk the long commute to work, or take an extra lap during your lunch break to reach your daily goal of 10,000.
The Four Pillar Plan also recommends doing strength training at least twice a week and paying more attention to the glutes since many people sit all day. There are videos on the Chatterjee blog for the daily butt exercises – you can even do them while drinking coffee in between.
3rd Pillar: Nutrition
There is no one diet that the lot for everybody. Better to change little things in your eating habits. For example, Chatterjee recommends eating five servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits a day and drinking eight glasses of water.
You should also set yourself a fixed time window of twelve hours for food intake – once this is over, you should eat nothing more. This prevents boredom in particular when eating in the evening. And it not only helps to control weight and blood sugar, but above all with the immune system. Many already know this as intermittent fasting.
4th Pillar: Sleep
In addition to relaxation, healthy nutrition and sufficient exercise, sleep is the fourth important building block in the “4-pillar plan”. If you sleep poorly and may even suffer from insomnia, it often has something to do with everyday things – stress, overwork, emotional tension or simply with your smartphone.
It is best not to use electrical devices at least 90 minutes before going to bed so that the brain can switch off better. Because exposure to the blue light of the screen reduces the production of the hormone melatonin (responsible for tiredness) in the body. Otherwise, you should avoid all nerve-wracking activities before bedtime. Yes, detailed discussions with your partner, financial calculations and supposedly important work e-mails also belong in the evening program and even more so in bed.