The 4 pillars of health!

The 4 pillars of health: hydration, nutrition, exercise, and sleep.



How can drinking ½ litre of water first thing in the morning beneficially effect you?

  • Physiological effects/benefits to body and brain – brain 50% more active?

Drinking water in the morning

Hydration is key to detoxing the body as it helps everything to keep moving through the body including aiding the digestive system and clearing away unwanted substances. On average, a daily intake of 2-2.5 litres of water should be made up mostly drinking water-based drinks and the small minority from foods that are high in soluble fibre.

70% of your body is made up of water, keeping this freshly topped up is important otherwise it can have short or long term negative impacts on your health, but when it comes to night time this can be hard, inevitably our bodies dehydrate throughout the night whilst sleeping. You can help prevent health issues by drinking water after you wake up and keeping the intake of water consistent throughout the day.

Drinking water naturally budges the toxins in your body, by urging movement in your bowels. Overnight your body repairs itself and draws out all the toxins meaning that when you drink water on an empty stomach in the morning the toxins are ready to be flushed out. Starting your day with a fresh and healthy body.

Drinking plenty of water can also help increase the production of muscle cells and new blood cells.

Immunity can be increased as drinking water on an empty stomach when you wake up supports the lymphatic system, this leads to the increased levels of immunity.

Hydration strongly influences your brain; slight dehydration can impair different aspects of the brain function. This is the general performance of the brain including moods, concentration and memory that is lacked when slightly dehydrated and let’s not forget those headaches that don’t seem to leave you alone!

Braving the cold shower!

Taking 3 minutes out of your day to brave a cold shower can benefit your body and brain, here is how!

The initial shock of submerging your whole body into cold water can be unbearable, but once you have got past this shock your body and brain will feel stimulated. When you submerge yourself into cold water your blood moves from the surface of your body to the core and this bathes both your body and brain in fresh blood.

When your body is surrounded by the cold water, this activates the sympathetic nervous system, increases the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline. The activation made to many functions of the brain leaves people feeling happier than before, this is linked to the feel-good factors being released giving a sense of wellbeing.

Hydrotherapy is one way that can help improve symptoms and general wellbeing with many benefits! Taking cold showers can increase your resistance to common illnesses this is due the stimulation in your body, becoming resistant to the elements that you are exposed to.


Cold water therapy / Hydrotherapy

So, you are wondering what cold water therapy is, right? This is the practise of using cold water to stimulate many benefits to your health, some examples of how to practice this therapy include ice baths, daily cold showers, open water swimming, emerging yourself into cold water.

It is believed to improve health and wellbeing in ways such as: circulation, sleep, energy levels and reduce inflammation in the body.

Other benefits:

  • Reduce muscle soreness – the cold water makes the blood vessels constrict which reduces the blood flow to the sore area.
  • Fast cooling down process when overheated – immerging the body into cold water can contribute to lowering the body temperature much faster than room temperature.
  • Boost immune systems – cold water stimulates the immune system by improving the ability to fight illnesses throughout the practise of cold-water therapy, creating an immunity to cold water helps to strengthen your health and body in general.


Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories without cholesterol, a very important source of nutrients. To maintain a healthy blood pressure, a diet that is rich in potassium will help maintain this.

Foods providing potassium: white potatoes, white beans, tomatoes, spinach.

Fibre helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels; this may also help towards lowering the risk of heart disease. Fibre is essential for a completely functional bowel, reducing constipation.

Vitamin A maintains healthy skin and eyes as well as protects you against infections. Foods that contain vitamin A are an essential element in your diet.

Vitamin C helps cuts and wounds heal as well as maintaining the health of teeth and gums. 


Nutrition can benefit your health in various ways such as:

  • Helping towards a lower calorie intake
  • Reducing risks of health issues related to the heart
  • Help ward off illnesses
  • Help the bodily functions


Exercise has many benefits towards your health, here is how you can benefit yourself by exercising:

Improve your mood, decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.

By exercising you alter parts of the brain that relieve stress and anxiety, as well s increasing brain sensitivity for the hormones such as serotonin, what you may refer to as the happy hormone! This plays a vital role in relieving the stress and anxiety. When you exercise, there is an increase in the production of endorphins which also help towards producing positive feelings and reduce perception of pain.

Not only can exercise help the negative feelings but it can distract the mind from things such as bad stress or pain.

To achieve and maintain healthy weight through exercising is one way to use up energy and increase your metabolic rate to digest foods quicker, this will mean that your body is spending energy by exercising, maintaining body functions and also by digesting foods which is increased with exercising.

You can build stronger muscles and bones through exercising, by stimulating them through exercises that help to release hormones to enable your muscles to absorb amino acids helping to grow instead of breaking down. As you get older it is essential to maintain the muscle, reducing the muscle loss and maintaining strength as you get older.

An increase of energy Levels can be seen through exercise, boosting your energy means a decrease in feeling fatigue.

As exercise increases the blood and oxygen flow to your brain, it enhances the functions and protects memory and thinking skills. Exercise is essential for the part of the brain for memory and learning to grow.

Relaxation and sleep can be improved through regular exercise, a recuperative process that occurs whilst you are asleep is stimulated when you complete exercise. Body temperature changes are improved for better sleep, when you exercise and get hotter this activates the temperature in your body, making it easier to cool down when going to sleep. Continue reading for more information about good quality sleep…


Sleep… you can probably agree is one of the most important things in our lives, it is essential for a happy and healthy you! One bad night’s sleep can affect us for days making us tired, irritable, unable to concentrate and also makes us want to eat the things we try to reduce the intake of.

Here are a few benefits of sleep:

Attention and concentration: sleep can ensure your mind doesn’t wander, meaning you are concentrating on all tasks throughout the day, it allows your brain to function properly the following day, getting plenty of sleep can also help you within big decisions and safety precautions that you come across throughout the day.

Memory: The time spent sleeping allows not only your body to rest but gives time for your brain to organise and process all the information taken in from the day, whilst also converting short term memories into long term ones.

Healthy heart: High blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease risks can be decreased by having an efficient amount of sleep. When you wake up too often it is thought to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system, which is the reaction to sensing danger.

Immune system: Quality sleep contributes to the strength of your immune system, it gives your body time to rest and recover, as you recover from an illness it allows your body to prepare to fight them again.

BE Agile BE Resilient BE Performance BE Leadership

Author: TEAM Engage Team – Dave Pickles & Fay Burrows

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