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Designing For Health

September 6, 2020

Tips For Designing Your Home For Health

Main Points:

  • POTS, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system, the part of your brain and nerves that control things you don’t think about, like heart rate, breathing, and blinking.
  • With POTS syndrome, your heart rate increases when you go from sitting to standing or lying down to standing. Essentially, your body doesn’t maintain blood pressure with big shifts, and your heart has to pump faster to keep up.
  • Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, fatigue, and more.
  • POTS is a frequently missed diagnosis, because symptoms are common to other things, typical doctors aren’t familiar with it, and because of an tendency in medicine to discount the symptoms of young women.
  • Read on to learn more about POTS, how to test yourself for POTS, and how to talk to your doctor about it.

RELATED: Get free recipes, ebooks, guides and more to supercharge your health.

Movement

Movement is an extremely important aspect of health, but most people don’t get enough of it.

There are so many negative health impacts of inactivity such as: 

  • Weight gain
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression
  • Muscular atrophy
  • Body pain
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Chronic conditions and diseases

Did you know that you can actually design your home to encourage movement? Well You can and you should! Here are some ways you can do that! 

Create space for workouts: Though many people have gym memberships, the majority don’t actually use them. Why? I’m sure you could name 20 right off the top of your head. It’s too far, too hard, too tired, don’t want to see anyone, embarrassed, the machine they want most may be taken, the time working out may be less than the time it takes to get there rendering it not worth it, etc. etc. 

There are a so many reasons why, but almost all of them are related to some barrier keeping people from wanting to go. The gyms know this! In fact, gyms actually base their entire business model on counting on you NOT going to the gym and NOT using your membership. According to npr.org, “Gyms have way more members than they can actually accommodate. Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym. Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. Planet Fitness can do this because it knows that members won’t show up.”

The thing is, they aren’t wrong and this is how they are so successful! But this leaves you, the customer, unsuccessful and actually worse off financially; since you are paying for a membership you don’t use, physically; because you may feel like you could “go to the gym later” and by default eat more unhealthy food, and mentally; because you get down on yourself for not going. 

They design the gym to  

Something like a home gym is recommended in whatever big or little space you can find in your home! Whether you have a big empty garage or a small corner in your home office, you would be surprised to know you can do a lot with what may seem like a little! Here are some quick and simple ideas to make some space:

  • If you are building or renovating a home, the answer here is simple, make it a priority to create a room or space designated to be the home gym or workout area. This area can be as large or small as you want! If you are someone who works out a lot with many large machines, then of course a larger space will be needed, but for many that stick to videos, yoga flows etc. a smaller space will work fine too. The important thing is to have a space you can count on because finding space in the house away from the dog, the kids, furniture and any other distractions and obstacles is just another barrier to keep you from working out in the first place. We want to eliminate as many barriers to movement as possible and by creating this workout space from the get go you can achieve that. 
  • Now the most popular option is the garage home gym! This is great for those that don’t have the money, plans, need or desire to build new or renovate. Most homes have garages and most people actually just use them for storage rather than their cars. By clearing out space (yay minimalism!) You could  The garage works so well for people because 
  • Convert your old dining room! Many people use their dining rooms once or twice a year! During the majority of the time you aren’t using it, you could move some furniture around to make space to do a quick workout video or yoga flow! Any kind of not often used space like this is the first place you can look to!
  • Remove unused furniture! The family room  could make a great space to do a workout with storeable exercise equipment stored under the sofa, cupboards or baskets. 
  • Do you have a playroom with miles and miles of toys? Try consolidating (and donating some of) the toys and share the room with your kiddos. Creating a work out zone in the playroom may also encourage your kids to work out with you.

A home gym does not need to be gigantic, but it does need to be big enough to work out comfortably. If you try to work out in a closet, you are going to be miserable and not keep up with it.

Keep your laundry room in the basement even though you hate going down there: Having laundry on a different level than the main living space may seem like a pain, but it is secretly making you more active. The more laundry you have to do, the more stairs you’ll climb!

Create standing work spaces: While exercise is important, not sitting for long stretches is as well. If you tend to spend a lot of time on your computer, make a place you can stand for some of it, or consider a walking desk. Here’s more info on avoiding what’s known as sitting disease.

 But this leaves you 

Comfort

Designing homes to improve health, mind and well-being is essential — perhaps now more than ever.  For designer Terri Fiori — principal of Fiori Interior Design in Wyckoff — a healthy home is one that nurtures your soul, allows you to connect with your family and yourself, and is a place of inspiration.

“When you live in a beautifully designed home that is created just for you, your environment gives back to you ten-fold,” the designer says. What elements impact our quality of living? Fiori breaks it down into 10 all-encompassing components:

Water

Designing homes to improve health, mind and well-being is essential — perhaps now more than ever.  For designer Terri Fiori — principal of Fiori Interior Design in Wyckoff — a healthy home is one that nurtures your soul, allows you to connect with your family and yourself, and is a place of inspiration.

“When you live in a beautifully designed home that is created just for you, your environment gives back to you ten-fold,” the designer says. What elements impact our quality of living? Fiori breaks it down into 10 all-encompassing components:

Air

Designing homes to improve health, mind and well-being is essential — perhaps now more than ever.  For designer Terri Fiori — principal of Fiori Interior Design in Wyckoff — a healthy home is one that nurtures your soul, allows you to connect with your family and yourself, and is a place of inspiration.

“When you live in a beautifully designed home that is created just for you, your environment gives back to you ten-fold,” the designer says. What elements impact our quality of living? Fiori breaks it down into 10 all-encompassing components:

Light

Designing homes to improve health, mind and well-being is essential — perhaps now more than ever.  For designer Terri Fiori — principal of Fiori Interior Design in Wyckoff — a healthy home is one that nurtures your soul, allows you to connect with your family and yourself, and is a place of inspiration.

“When you live in a beautifully designed home that is created just for you, your environment gives back to you ten-fold,” the designer says. What elements impact our quality of living? Fiori breaks it down into 10 all-encompassing components:

What is POTS?

Designing homes to improve health, mind and well-being is essential — perhaps now more than ever.  For designer Terri Fiori — principal of Fiori Interior Design in Wyckoff — a healthy home is one that nurtures your soul, allows you to connect with your family and yourself, and is a place of inspiration.

“When you live in a beautifully designed home that is created just for you, your environment gives back to you ten-fold,” the designer says. What elements impact our quality of living? Fiori breaks it down into 10 all-encompassing components:

Germs & Bacteria

The most important thing to do is to facilitate any cleaning process: avoid areas difficult to reach or tight corners, reduce seams in countertops and make sure nothing can easily fall behind built-in cabinetry. Also, avoid overly complicated designs in high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, handles, buttons, operating parts and railings. A flat, smooth surface is easier to clean. To facilitate operation of parts by people with limited mobility, make sure their functioning doesn’t require tight grasp or complicated twisting.

Particular attention should be given to lobbies and entryways, using rollout mats that can be cleaned on the underside, as well as on top. 

The ability to do maintenance on and to replace any high-use surface or operation part is very useful. 

Choose materials that are easy to clean and non-porous surfaces. Granite and other natural stone countertop surfaces are porous and allow for moisture, food particles, and microbial spores to accumulate. Surfaces like steel, quartz or Corian are non-porous and easier to sanitize.  Porous materials, like rugs, textiles, upholstery, certain wallpapers, towels, bedding and curtains require special care in cleaning, particularly from dust mites that might cause allergies. 

 

Movement

Sunrooms & Light Shelves

Movement

Just like healthy eating, you know you need to exercise. Do you always do it? If you set your home up to encourage movement, you might be more likely to exercise.

What are the impacts of a home that doesn’t promote movement?

Inactivity leads to:

  • Weight gain
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased happiness
  • Body pain
  • Chronic conditions and diseases

I know how hard it is to get to the gym or go for a run after work when you have a family. But don’t let that be your excuse. Set your home up for movement and exercise so that it is impossible to ignore and easier to fit into your schedule. A healthy home will encourage movement throughout your day.

 

How to Promote Movement in Your Home

Carve out space for workouts: If you live in a small, crowded house, this may sound impossible. But you might be surprised where you can find space if you really want to. Look at your living room to see if you have extra furniture in there that never gets used.

Removing it could make way for a space to do a workout video. Storeable exercise equipment like a mini stair stepperresistance bands, or weights can be stowed under the sofa or in a storage ottoman.

Do you have a playroom with miles and miles of toys? Try consolidating (and donating some of) the toys and share the room with your kiddos. Creating a work out zone in the playroom may also encourage your kids to work out with you.

A home gym does not need to be gigantic, but it does need to be big enough to work out comfortably. If you try to work out in a closet, you are going to be miserable and not keep up with it.

Keep your laundry room in the basement even though you hate going down there: Having laundry on a different level than the main living space may seem like a pain, but it is secretly making you more active. The more laundry you have to do, the more stairs you’ll climb!

Create standing work spaces: While exercise is important, not sitting for long stretches is as well. If you tend to spend a lot of time on your computer, make a place you can stand for some of it, or consider a walking desk. Here’s more info on avoiding what’s known as sitting disease.

 

Water

Smart water features

The WELL standard is particularly concerned with the quality of the water delivered to a building, recommending the use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) sanitization methods, carbon filters and sediment filters for suspended solids. In addition to these precautions, a prerequisite for any organization applying for the WELL Certification requires that organization to put in place a standard to control the potential spread of Legionella.  A word to the wise: In certain hospitals and even in their offices, ice-makers and any water delivery systems that cannot be replaced or serviced easily are banned.

In order to fight the spread of disease, the WELL Standard recommends large sinks and a column of water at least ten inches tall to prevent any contamination of the fresh water. This “optimization” goes hand-in-hand with making it easy for people to wash their hands by providing fragrance-free hand soap placed in dispensers with disposable and sealed soap cartridges. Also recommended: using paper towels in lieu of air-dryers, as paper towels are more effective in removing bacteria (while being less environmentally friendly, unfortunately).

In regard to the use of anti-microbial soap, the FDA has reported that it is not more effective than regular soap and proper hand washing.

“Following simple hand washing practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness at home, at school and elsewhere,” says Theresa M. Michele, MD, of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products. “We can’t advise this enough. It’s simple, and it works.”

Air

Many health problems come from the generation of mold and fungi in the HVAC system. UV filters in heating and cooling equipment have been developed to combat this problem, together with scheduled maintenance and filter replacement. All major HVAC manufacturers now offer these kinds of UV filters.

Proper ventilation quality should always be prioritized, not only to reduce the spread of bacteria, but also to reduce the accumulation of pollutants from inside and outside the building, which can negatively affect people with asthma or other respiratory problems.  In particular, great attention should be given to the levels of Particulate Matter PM 2.5 and PM 10 (caused also by heavy demolition or construction and diesel-powered equipment); Carbon monoxide (produced when a combustion appliance, such as a boiler, heater, oven, and so on, does not completely burn a carbon-based fuel); and Ozone and Nitrogen dioxide. 

There are many indoor-air quality monitors for sale, which can help track the levels of many pollutants. There are also outdoor-air quality monitors that can warn when windows should be closed that may have been left open.

Stress

Calm and a Healthy Home

Your home should be a sanctuary, a place to come home at the end of a crazy day to decompress. When I come home, I want to open the door, feel a sense of calm wash over me, and leave all the stress outside.

But if your home is cluttered, disorganized, and dark, with no connection to nature, your stress levels will never go down. You will have no place to recharge. The stress, anxiety, and overwhelm will never subside. (Here are some other effective ways to reduce cortisol.)

What are the impacts of a home that doesn’t promote calm?

  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Decreased happiness
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Cardiovascular disease

Proper ventilation quality should always be prioritized, not only to reduce the spread of bacteria, but also to reduce the accumulation of pollutants from inside and outside the building, which can negatively affect people with asthma or other respiratory problems.  In particular, great attention should be given to the levels of Particulate Matter PM 2.5 and PM 10 (caused also by heavy demolition or construction and diesel-powered equipment); Carbon monoxide (produced when a combustion appliance, such as a boiler, heater, oven, and so on, does not completely burn a carbon-based fuel); and Ozone and Nitrogen dioxide. 

There are many indoor-air quality monitors for sale, which can help track the levels of many pollutants. There are also outdoor-air quality monitors that can warn when windows should be closed that may have been left open. 

Bring on the plants: It has been proven that humans thrive when we have a connection to nature. It triggers happiness and speeds up recovery time when we’re sick. But unless you make it a priority to get outside, you’ll miss that connection to nature.

 

We also need to bring nature inside. One of the easiest ways to do this is to incorporate plants into your home. You do not need to create an indoor jungle, but place plants throughout your home to create calm and happiness wherever you are.

If house plants aren’t for you, incorporate nature with non-living elements. This could be a coffee table made from a tree stump, a wind chime made of sea shells or even nature-themed wall paper. (Just remember to choose wall paper that is not made of vinyl, which offgasses chemicals that affect air quality.)

Declutter: A major stress factor in our homes is clutter. Decluttering your home is a big process and can take a while. I’d recommend starting either in your entryway or your bedroom. These are the areas you see when you come home at the end of the day and wake up to in the morning, so they can instantly trigger stress.

Smart storage solutions: Once you have reduced the amount of stuff in your home, you can add in some smart storage solutions to conceal the stuff that might otherwise become clutter. Seating that doubles as storage is a wonderful thing. And having storage drawers opposed to shelving is perfect for kids, so they can easily put their own toys away without anyone having to organize them afterwards.

Disclaimer: Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide personalized medical advice. I draw on numerous health sources, some of which are linked above. Please consult them for more information and a licensed professional for personalized recommendations.

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Health and Home

Health & Home is an interior design-based business that seeks to help others create healthy homes through minimizing toxins, optimizing design and maximizing health. We do so by addressing the build of the home, the design of the space, the decor and even the products used in the home, so our clients can live their healthiest life!

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