- Perspective by Bahram Akradi -

Greater Than the Sum of Your Parts

Your health is the result of countless intersecting factors that come together in one extraordinarily complex, brilliantly designed, synergetic organism: You.

A profile picture of LIFE TIME founder Bahram Akradi

For too long, we’ve been encouraged to think about our health as a collection of separate factors. We categorized physical and mental health as completely different medical realms. We looked at nutrition and fitness as distinct disciplines. We thought of resistance, cardio, proprioceptive, and flexibility training as disparate domains with relatively little overlap.

None of this has served us very well, because it doesn’t respect the reality of what makes and keeps us healthy, which is not a collection of separate factors, but rather the interactions between them all. (For more on that see “Thoughts From the Editor”.)

Increasingly, we are also coming to understand how many widely overlooked and undervalued factors play an equally important role in making or breaking our health. Things like sleep, stress, social support, self-care, time in nature, exposure to toxins — even the kinds of media and medical interventions we do or do not embrace.

The fact is, it all matters. But it can also be overwhelming to try to wrap your head around all those factors all at once. And it can be harder still to conduct your life in ways that integrate them in all their glorious complexity.

Over the past 20 years, one of our abiding goals at Life Time has been to help people understand the fundamental, interconnecting factors in healthy living while also making all kinds of healthy experiences more convenient for them to discover, embrace, and sustain.

That’s why we run such a wide array of integrated fitness-and-nutrition programs. It’s why we offer a variety of customized metabolic and biochemical lab assessments. It’s why we produce educational content like Experience Life magazine. It’s why we host a broad range of athletic events. It’s why we offer in-house physical therapy, chiropractic, and bodywork services. It’s why we’ve begun opening progressive primary-care facilities — LT Proactive Care Clinics — inside our clubs. And it’s why we just launched our new Life Time Health app, which provides instant access to an incredibly powerful set of health-improvement tools.

We want to help people connect the dots between all the essential and subtle elements of their personal health without having to get a dozen different PhDs, or run around to a dozen different providers and facilities.

We currently serve more than 1.5 million members. Research tells us that most of them are well-educated, purpose-driven people who have very busy lives. They strive to achieve ambitious goals, and to continually discover and express more of their full potential — including optimal health.

But while they consider their health a huge priority, they often struggle to find time and energy for it amid all their other work, family, and community commitments.

When our lives get too busy, we start to break down. Our daily rituals and practices start to fall apart, and our perspective gets fractured. We can start to compartmentalize our reality in ways that work against us.

That’s one reason that spending time in health-oriented places can be so helpful. Being around other people who are making time and space for themselves is inspiring. Connecting with new environments, experiencing new sensations and new challenges, learning and discovering new things about ourselves, and expanding our capacities for growth, strength, healing, and relaxation — all of these things feel good.

We don’t have to do everything or learn everything all at once. But it’s good to be continuously reminded of all there is still to know, and then to learn it at our chosen pace.

It’s also good to honor the genius of our human design, and to recognize that we are more than the sum of our parts.

This fall, I hope you’ll take some time to notice if some aspect of your health, fitness, or well-being is calling out for attention. Consider how it is affecting the other aspects of your health and happiness. Then look around for some support — at a Life Time location or elsewhere — in addressing it.

Whether you’re focused on weight loss, energy improvement, athletic performance, or some chronic health or mood challenge, know that when you upgrade one aspect of your health and vitality, you generally bring the rest of your systems along for the ride.

Bahram Akradi is the founder and CEO of Life Time Fitness.

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