The Foundation of Wellness
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Esports Healthcare disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
The information contained on this website does not establish, nor does it imply, doctor-patient relationship. Esports Healthcare does not offer this information for diagnostic purposes. A diagnosis must not be assumed based on the information provided.
Naturally, all the content we post on this website is specific to health and wellness. We’ve posted information on mental health, nutrition, and physical health—including an injury library with 17 different ailments that gamers may face in their careers.
Most of these pages are loaded with evidence-based information on each topic, and one of the most common points of feedback is that our pages contain too much information that can feel overwhelming for someone looking for some simple tips.
Ultimately, our goal is to provide to you every bit of information you’ll ever need to make healthy decisions. With that in mind, we will continue to post these highly educational, evidence-based topics for you to take (or leave) as much of the information as you please.
However, we’re also going to start rolling out some shorter posts to breakdown these larger topics so you can get what you need without fishing through a 5,000 word page often containing some intense medical language. So, let’s begin.
the “foundation of wellness:” what is it?
There are so many aspects of wellness that incorporate all aspects of your daily life. However, here at Esports Healthcare, we believe that four of these aspects form the foundation upon which the rest of your health and wellness are built.
Of the four parts of our Foundation of Wellness, the only one we rank is sleep—which is an unquestioned #1 for its importance for your health. There is no other aspect of wellness more important than sleep! If you want to make an argument for the importance, you can make the claim for water or oxygen; otherwise, there is no argument.
“Get enough sleep”
There are few things more bothersome for us at Esports Healthcare than seeing healthcare providers make generic, unhelpful statements in the name of advice; the suggestion to “get enough sleep” is particularly frustrating. Too many people think 4-6 hours of sleep is enough, and so telling someone to “get enough sleep” actually may be more harmful than helpful.
I often hear people bragging about staying up late or waking up early, and I’ve also frequently heard people claiming they feel better with 4, 5, or 6 hours of sleep. While there are likely outliers to the mountains of research evidence describing the health benefits of 8 hours of sleep per night, I hear people say they sleep 4-6 hours far more frequently than I hear people say they sleep the full 8 hours (and yes, these are conversations I routinely have with my patients).
Pillars of sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD
To learn more about Dr. Walker and his research on sleep, check out his website and his book, Why We Sleep. The following are brief summaries of some of his discussions:
Ultimately, the basic guidelines for sleep (for adults) are to attempt to get 8 hours of sleep each night by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. To learn more detail about sleep habits, health consequences of poor sleep, and more, check out Dr. Walker’s book, or check out our (longer) summary of some of his work on our sleep education page.
For physical activity, there are a few basic guidelines to which you should adhere, but the rest is up to you. To keep it as simple as possible, you should attempt to increase your heart rate, increase your respiratory (breathing) rate, and challenge your muscles for at least 30 minutes per day.
I’m not citing any particular research with the above-stated guidelines. The simple truth is, you need to move your body to be healthy. I also want to note that we generally avoid using the word “exercise” in this context because it tends to suggest weightlifting or other types of athletic or performance training.
However, you don’t need to train like an athlete or bodybuilder to experience the benefits. You just need to be physically active, and so we stick with the phrase “physical activity.”
Move your body!
Movement – it really is that simple. Maybe you like walking, hiking, or climbing; maybe lifting weights is more your speed; otherwise, you can ride a bicycle or a stationary bike, you can jump rope, you can go swimming, or literally anything else you’d like—just keep it safe and make it fun!
The best activities will move most/all parts of your body across multiple planes* and will increase your heart rate, increase your respiratory rate, and will challenge your muscles.
*Walking is a movement that exists in only one plane; shuffling sideways or doing jumping jacks are two examples of moving through a different plane.
These guidelines are vague but not in the same vain as the previous example of “get enough sleep.” These guidelines are vague because how you choose to move is less important that just getting your body moving. Do what you enjoy, but get moving!
For a detailed overview of general nutrition, please visit our page on the Basics of Nutrition.
For the aforementioned aspects of health, there are some basic guidelines to follow; for sleep, the guidelines are pretty straightforward, and for physical activity, they are a little bit more vague. Now, getting into nutrition, the guidelines become even more vague.
I already mentioned that “get enough sleep” is a terrible comment for healthcare providers to make; telling someone to “eat healthy” is an even more egregious comment because most people don’t understand what that means. We’ve already published a lot of information about your body’s needs on the Basics of Nutrition page, so I’m not going to get into that level of detail on this post.
There are a handful of basic bullet points for which to follow in your nutrition journey; however, everyone’s physiology is unique, and therefore “optimal nutrition” takes many forms. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Instead, you need to learn about your own body to understand how to properly nourish yourself.
There are a few universal truths, though. Your body needs water, macronutrients (dietary fat, carbohydrates, and protein), and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to survive.
Your macronutrient intake will vary based on variables including basal metabolic rate (how many Calories your body burns simply to stay alive), your current body composition, your goals, your daily physical activity, etc. Ultimately, you should meet with a nutrition specialist to discuss these values.
Micronutrient intake is a little more generic, and most adults—assuming the absence of disease or illness or other added variable—benefit from the FDA’s recommended daily values. Every micronutrient is listed here, including daily value, sources, their importance in your body, and some additional information when necessary.
What foods are considered “healthy?”
Again, nutrition has so many variables that can make certain things true for some people and untrue for others. However, we have a broad-scope definition for “healthy foods” that, generally speaking, is true for the average adult.
Here at Esports Healthcare, we generally believe that healthy food is as close to nature as possible while providing your body with macronutrients, micronutrients, or both, without causing undue stress on your body.
When we use the phrase, “as close to nature as possible,” we simply mean minimal processing from its existence in nature to the point of consumption (“farm-to-table”). Processing describes adding or removing ingredients or changing the food’s naturally occurring molecular structure.
One example of simple “processing” that changes the health value is a baked potato vs. mashed potatoes—even worse if you remove the skin before mashing (which, in my opinion, is an outrageous thing to do. The skin is the best part!).
Potato skins have an incredible amount of micronutrients, and removing the skin removes all those nutrients. Cutting and mashing potatoes with the skin still in the mix will still remove some of the health value by changing the structure of certain molecules such as fiber.
Foods that are highly processed are even worse. Examples of highly processed foods include:
This topic can get out of hand, so we’ll stop before it gets too wordy. If you have any questions about nutrition (or any other topics on this page), please comment below.
*For a list of mental health resources including emergency and crisis intervention, click here.
Last, but certainly not least, is managing your mental health. Previously, I mentioned that the nutrition guidelines tend to be more vague than the guidelines for a topic such as sleep. Unfortunately, for mental health, it’s even more challenging than nutrition.
Mental health is far more individualized than nutrition. Everyone’s body will respond differently to different foods and different ingredients, but there are still a solid base of universal truths for healthy diet. For mental health, we normally teach that it’s necessary for you to find your own journey. The only guideline here is that you must prioritize your mental health in the same fashion that you’d prioritize your physical health!
Our best advice is to speak with a mental health professional: a licensed counselor, licensed clinical social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. and work towards learning what techniques will be most valuable to you.
For example, some people benefit tremendously from mental health talk therapy, but other people may not find the same benefit. Other people find their journey through meditation, or walking through nature, or talking to their friends and family, and the list goes on and on.
We still always recommend seeing a mental health professional at some point, but your journey may not be specific to counseling meetings.
The big takeaways for mental health:
Comment and share!
If you have any questions about our view on the Foundation of Wellness, if you think we missed something, or you believe we’ve made a mistake, please comment below! If you think this article was helpful for you or may be helpful for someone else, please share it!