Typically, when people go to the doctor, it is to assess a variety of ailments. Lifestyle medicine goes beyond the ailment detection of medical practices and focuses on sustaining and perpetuating continued health and wellbeing through a more holistic approach.
The 7 Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine
While classified as a holistic approach, the theory of lifestyle medicine is a practice most medical professionals can get behind; the concept of balance in seven core areas of life. Lifestyle medicine focuses on the seven habits for a healthy life, and those habits contribute to reduced risks of chronic conditions.
Movement or physical activity is vital to lifestyle medicine. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to many complications, including cardiovascular. By practicing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, you can find it easier to maintain or control your weight, strengthen muscles and bones, and promote mental wellbeing.
The dreaded nutrition pillar can seem problematic. Many people look at nutrition like rocket science, something complex and hard to grasp, but it is not as challenging as it looks. On a fundamental level, making a few minor adjustments to your diet can drastically improve your health. For example, eat out less than twice per week and swap a can of soda for water. Additionally, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
3. Outdoor Activity
The outdoors is nature’s gift to humanity. Spending even 30 minutes outside can increase your well-being. According to lifestyle medicine experts, you should spend a minimum of 120 minutes outside every week. Exposure to the outdoors is proven to reduce stress, limit inflammation, and improve sleep.
Most adults know they need between seven and eight hours of sleep per night, but few get it. Many things affect your sleep, from noise to stress and diet. Lifestyle medicine highlights sleep as critical to overall health. To get a better night’s rest, consider sleeping in a quiet environment without tech or television. Additionally, avoid eating too late and do not consume caffeine after midday.
5. Emotional Wellbeing
Stress relief is vital to mental and physical health. Anxiety, worry, and fear all lead to problems with sleep, diet, and relationships. Finding a way to deal with stress is necessary and pivotal to lifestyle medicine. Practicing mindfulness is one way to combat the effects of stress.
Dehydration leads to a variety of health issues: headaches, fatigue, dizziness, etc. While the rule is often stated as eight glasses of water per day, the Mayo Clinic would disagree. According to the clinic, men need a minimum of 15 cups of water per day and women need at least 11.
7. Substance Avoidance
Lifestyle medicine also encourages a substance-free life, meaning no smoking or drugs. Cigarettes, alcohol, and other substances can lead to significant consequences and impaired thinking. Lifestyle medicine is all about clarity and purity.
New Focus Equals New Hope
While people understand the benefits of adopting healthy habits, they often overcomplicate the process, getting bogged down in the details. By restricting your attention to the above seven areas, you can increase your health and mental wellbeing in stages. There is no need to embrace all the habits at once; instead, take on one practice at a time and master it. By working methodically, you limit the potential of becoming overwhelmed, allowing you to embrace the changes.
Do you have any experience with the practice? leave a comment below and keep the conversation going.