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2020


Purpose | Health | Belonging | Security

What does a life well-lived mean to you? It’s different for everyone. Some people put time and effort into developing and nurturing relationships. Others try to manage their emotions and become more relaxed. Some people measure their sense of security by the size of their bank account.

 

 Well-being is personal – your path will be very different from your family, friends or coworkers. The first step on your well-being journey is to understand what’s important to you. We focus on four pillars of well-being: purpose, health, belonging and security. The interaction and balance of these pillars within your life creates your own personal sense of well-being. What does each pillar mean to you? Think about the goals you set for each of these and how you prioritize each in your life. How do you incorporate purpose, health, belonging and security into your life? Improvement in one area may even lead to improvement in others, leading you even closer to your well-being goals.

Here are some mindful ways to explore what well-being means to you.

 

Find purpose

We all have a purpose in life – purpose is the driving force that helps us grow as individuals and members of our community. One way to find purpose is to discover and embrace what motivates you to enjoy the fullness of life. Being curious and learning about yourself can be beneficial to help you find goodness in helping others. Volunteering at local organizations or meeting with advocacy groups within your community are great ways to support those around you. Making a spiritual connection may inspire a new direction. Dealing with your fears can inspire you to find and achieve your dream. How will you find your purpose?

 

Invest in health

Good health affects both physical and mental well-being. Achieving your best health is a very personal journey. A great place to start is to understand how and when you feel your best. Learn to befriend your body to help build healthy habits that work best for you. Know your wellness numbers – blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol and blood glucose – and work on activities to improve them to help you live your best life. How will you invest in your good health?

 

Elevate belonging

We all want to feel like we belong – to our family, our circle of friends, at work and in our community. Foster connections to the people around you to nurture relationships and improve well-being. One way to strengthen personal connections is to join coworkers on their daily walks (while appropriately social distancing) or sign up for a team healthy eating challenge. You will increase your circle of friends by being more inclusive and inviting others to join activities. How will you elevate your sense of belonging?

 

Feel more secure

The key to personal well-being is simple—identify when and how you feel most confident and secure in yourself, your relationships and even your financial situation. A good way to get started is to be a self-advocate and practice self-care. When you can cool anger and unwind anxiety, you manage stress and gain confidence. Reducing other types of stressors like finances can also help put your mind at ease. Take the time to reflect on the beauty in life, and it will inspire your personal self-worth and build healthier connections with others. How will you feel more secure?

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Whether you’re a serious athlete or a recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. If you’re not properly hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. You may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, or more serious symptoms.

 

For most people, water is all that is needed to stay hydrated. However, if you’ll be exercising at a high intensity for longer than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful. The calories, potassium, and other nutrients in sports drinks can provide energy and electrolytes to help you keeping going longer.

 

Sports drinks have other advantages over water for athletes and exercisers that go beyond better hydration. Specifically, the calories in sports drinks have been shown to increase energy and endurance, limit the immune system suppression that sometimes follows hard workouts, reduce exercise-induced muscle damage, and promote faster recovery.

Water provides no sodium, and sodium helps the body hold onto water and helps fluid get to the right places in the body, like muscles and blood. For training over an hour at medium to high intensity, look for a drink that provides between 13-19 grams of carbohydrate per 8 oz serving, and at least 80-110 mg sodium and even more for longer duration training.

 

Sports drinks have three basic ingredients:

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Salt

 

These three ingredients work to rehydrate, reenergize, and replace lost electrolytes.

 

The sugars in sports drinks can also help replenish the fuel you use during exercise. The body stores fuel as carbohydrates in the muscles and the liver and releases sugar into the bloodstream for instant energy. But after prolonged exercise – about an hour of intense exercise like a fast run or hard cycling – the carbohydrate stores are depleted and blood-sugar levels can drop.  A steady source of sugar during strenuous exercise for an extended period can help fight off fatigue and enhance performance. With lower intensity exercise, such as jogging, it may take two hours or more before energy needs replacing.

 

If you’re simply an active person who plays social tennis, swims, or goes to the gym a couple of times a week, you don’t need sports drinks. However, for long periods (an hour or more) of strenuous exercise, they may be beneficial.

 

 

 

Brink-Elfegoun, Thibault et al. “Effects of Sports Drinks on the Maintenance of Physical Performance during 3 Tennis Matches: A Randomized Controlled Study.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 11 (2014): 46. PMC. Web. 8 Dec. 2016.

Alsunni, Ahmed Abdulrahman. “Energy Drink Consumption: Beneficial and Adverse Health Effects.” International Journal of Health Sciences 9.4 (2015): 468–474. Print.

 

References

Abby Housefield, “Electrolytes for runners: The Definitive Guide”, runnersconnect.net, accessed December 2016. https://runnersconnect.net/running-nutrition-articles/electrolytes-for-runners/

Anna Schaefer, “Is Gatorade Bad For You?” healthline.com, accessed December 2016. http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-gatorade-bad-for-you

Kyle Levers, “Nature’s Gatorade: Effectivness of Coconut Water on Electrolyte and Carbohydrate Replacement”, huffinesinstitute.org, accessed December 2016.

http://huffinesinstitute.org/resources/articles/articletype/articleview/articleid/446/natures-gatorade-effectiveness-of-coconut-water-on-electrolyte-and-carbohydrate-replacement

 

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