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Lifestyle Medicine is a relatively new term that is being tossed around a lot lately. But what does it really mean? When you break it down, Lifestyle Medicine simply means eating healthy, moving more, reducing stress, and enjoying life. Seems simple, right? And that's because it is! In this series, we will discuss the basics of Lifestyle Medicine and how you can apply it to your own life. So, sit back, relax and let's get started!
The first step to living a healthier lifestyle is to eat well. This means consuming a whole food, mostly plant-based diet that is low in fat and refined carbs. Eating healthy doesn't have to be difficult or boring - there are plenty of delicious recipes out there that fit this bill! And once you get into the habit of eating healthy meals, you'll be surprised at how good you feel. Don’t worry; we’re going to talk about this a whole lot more down the road. For now, it’s just an overview.
The second step is to move more. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, improve your mood and boost your energy levels. And it doesn't have to be tedious or time-consuming - even a short walk around the block can make a difference. So, get moving and start feeling better today!
The third step is to reduce stress. Stress can have a negative impact on your health, so it's important to find ways to relax and de-stress. Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are all great ways to reduce stress. And if you can't find the time for these activities during your busy day, try taking a few minutes to yourself each night to relax and unwind. Again, I’ve got a whole lot more to add to this!
The fourth and final step is to enjoy life. This means making time for the things you love, spending time with loved ones and embracing new experiences. So go out and have some fun!
So, there you have it - the basics
What does all that effort get you, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked because the benefits are enormous. Let's look at some statistics to put things in some sort of perspective.
Making even small changes to your lifestyle can have a profound impact on your health. Studies show that people who make healthy lifestyle choices can reverse the progression of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, high cholesterol, obesity, cellular aging and even gene expression.
Because of that it's not really a surprise that lifestyle medicine is becoming so popular. It can address the underlying causes of many chronic conditions, and it's something you can do yourself, without drugs or surgery. All you need is some basic knowledge about how your body works, and a willingness to make some small changes in your life.
The interesting thing to me is that almost all of those chronic conditions (and more) have similar underlying biological mechanisms: chronic inflammation, too much stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, immune function changes and disturbances in the guts microbiome, to name just a few. And all those underlying factors can be influenced with small changes in lifestyle.
And even more surprising: when you change your lifestyle positively, it changes your genes! Over 500 genes in just 3 months of change in lifestyle...that's amazing. Genes Changing Research And that means you can't go on blaming your "bad genes" for your health conditions. You can change!
Making simple changes like getting more exercise and eating a healthier diet can go a long way towards improving your health. So put down that doughnut, get off the couch and start moving! Your body will thank you for it. :-)
I hope this article has given you a good introduction to the basics of lifestyle medicine. It can be overwhelming to try and make all the changes necessary for better health but start small and make one change at a time. Once you’ve got the hang of that, add another change. And before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a healthier life!
What have been some of your successes with lifestyle medicine? What have you changed or intend to change in your lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below. And keep your eyes open for the next in this series on the Lifestyle Summit 2021.
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