These are the pillars of Bare 5 Health and Fitness…
We are natural creatures and are designed to live in harmony with nature. In today’s world that can be a challenge. The Bare 5 Elements are my foundation in the pursuit to recapturing natural health and wellness. Exploring and developing each of these will help guide us toward a more balanced and pure lifestyle congruent with our biology and primal instincts.
5. Enjoy Life
Let’s take a closer look…
Bare 5 Element #1…
This is simple… eat naturally occurring foods. Real, whole, natural, seasonal, local and unprocessed. The longer humans have been eating a food, the better. There is a little gray area here but, in general, if you are eating whole foods that man did not have anything to do with aside from pick it or catch it, then you are probably doing well. If if came straight from the earth you’re in great shape. If humans tinkered with it first, be a little more wary. If humans created it, avoid it entirely. Remember, we are what we eat as well as what we eat eats: eat foods that are natural themselves. Genetically modified wheat and salmon are not natural. Cows that eat grains are not natural. Eat things that grow in the way they are naturally designed. This also means eat with the seasons. Ingesting massive amounts of fruit in the deep winter is not natural. Eating a ketogenic diet in the summer is not natural. Eat food when it naturally occurs. Natural food = natural health. As Hippocrates once said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Bare 5 Element #2…
In essence, the key is to move naturally, as humans have done for quite some time. Move around, walk, lift things, carry things, run, jump, climb. Get back to the natural way of human movement.
Step one… Take off your shoes. We evolved without shoes- feet connected to the earth… our Bare 5 toes giving us feedback on every step. Reconnect to the earth, even if it’s hardwood floors and cement. Dirt and grass is better but any connection is better than none.
Step two… Move your body. Walk, work, just move around. Make your life more active. I’m not talking exercise, I’m talking activity. The more the better.
Step three… Do it in nature. Take the above two and take it outside. A nearby park? Go explore…
Step four… Take it to the next level. Play with weights and intensity. Don’t overdo this- make it brief, intermittent and intense.
Step five… Have fun with it. There is nothing like moving your body and having a great time while doing it. Play, dance, skip. Do active and FUN things.
As the old saying goes We don’t stop moving because we get old, we get old because we stop moving.
Bare 5 Element #3…
Once again, this is a simple one: rest naturally. People overlook sleep and rest, thinking they’ll be fine without an adequate amount of it. We can certainly get by with an inadequate amount or poor quality of sleep, but we will not thrive. We will not maximize health and will likely put ourselves at risk of several health conditions if we ignore the importance of sleep and recovery. You repair your body, build muscle, burn fat and fight disease while you sleep. That should be enough for most people. Rest could be the one thing that drives our health in the right direction. With proper sleep and rest, much of the other elements often fall right into place. A good rule of thumb: rest when the sun does. Wind down after the sun goes down, get to sleep early and rise early. I am reminded of the old saying Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Bare 5 Essential #4…
This is a big one. Humans have been living in and interacting with natural environments for our entire existence and have, unfortunately, just recently removed ourselves from the outdoors. An uncountable number of benefits occur from exposure to nature. Sunlight is the biggest one- don’t be scared of it, we would not be here without it. But simply feeling the hot air in the summer, wind in the fall, cold air in the winter, and rain in the spring all do wonders for our health and well being. Feeling grass and dirt, smelling trees and flowers, and looking at rolling hills are all experiences our bodies and minds expect and yearn for. Many of our basic physiological systems are based on natural rhythms developed from a primal kinship with the earth… reconnecting is usually a great antidote for much of what ails us.
One of the best ways to reconnect is to practice “seasonal” living. This simply means live by the seasons. Sleep more in the winter, less in the summer. Eat food when it’s in season, more plants in the spring, more fruit in the summer, more meat in the fall and winter. Be active in the spring, summer and fall, relax in the winter. Expose yourself to heat in the summer, cold in the winter. The list goes on. In essence, take clues from nature. Life was not the same every day, every month, all year round. We thrive on some consistency and some change. Life is about rhythm and breaks in the rhythm. From day to month to season, we live best in rhythm with nature. The more you can incorporate seasonal practices into your life, the better you will feel and function.
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to connect to other people. They are part of this world, they are part of nature. Connect with other humans. Talk, smile, laugh, shake hands, give high fives, share hugs, rub shoulders, look people in the eyes. Cherish other people, they are in this world right there with you. Humans are social creatures, let’s not forget our roots tribal and communal people as technology starts to takeover our world. Pets and animals also offer great opportunity for companionship, don’t overlook the power of connection.
Bare 5 Element #5…
This is a simple but essential concept. Keep joy, happiness and fun in your life. Stress so often takes the place of enjoyment in our lives. Want to feel better? Manage your stress level. Stress is one of the most detrimental and potentially devastating influences the modern lifestyle has on our health. Stress will negatively impact every aspect of your life and well being. Nearly every disorder and disease has roots in stress, either noticeable or hidden. Mental, emotional, physical, biological, environmental. It all counts as stress and it all impacts the normal functioning of the body. It is nearly possible to avoid, but it is possible to manage and mitigate.
How? By enjoying life. Relax. Do things you enjoy. Find the joy in life whenever you can. Practice controlling the things you can, let go of the things you can’t. By having more fun, we can manage stress very effectively.
Everyone has their own ways of enjoying life. The key is to not forget about them. Don’t let life stop you from doing things that make you feel good. You might not have the opportunity to fill your days with fun but try to do something enjoyable every day, even if it’s for 5 minutes. Find your joy, practice it and worship it.
Here are some basic ideas for stress management and relaxation…
Laugh- this is so powerful, laugh whenever you can.
Play- being an adult doesn’t mean you can’t play.
Dance- doesn’t matter how when or where, just dance.
Talk- friends and family are great stress relievers.
Meditate- even a few quiet minutes goes a long way.
Exercise- a must, be active some way every day.
Walk- the easiest and most ancient way to be active.
Write/Journal- great way to keep things in perspective.
Hobbies- find your past time.
Movies- so many people love the movies.
Smile- so easy to do and such a great way to spread joy.
Courtesy- saying nice things and doing favors is golden.
Chill- just be, doing nothing is awesome sometimes.
This list could go on but the Bare 5 Bottom Line is do fun things and things that make you feel good.
There you have the Bare 5 Elements.
Nourish. Move. Rest. Connect. Enjoy.
The foundation to recapturing natural health and wellness and living an optimized life.