If you are tired of the “pill for every ill,” you may want to consider the growing movement of Lifestyle medicine.
Lifestyle Medicine is a scientific approach to decreasing disease risk and illness burden by utilizing lifestyle interventions such as nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction, rest, smoking cessation, and avoidance of alcohol abuse. Lifestyle medicine is the recommended foundational approach to preventing and treating many chronic diseases. American College of Preventive Medicine
Data indicates that 80% of chronic diseases are a result of lifestyle with the big factors being:
• Lack of exercise (people are sitting an average of 9 hours a day)
• Poor nutrition (processed food is high in fact, sugar and salt)
Research is showing that there are more effective strategies than a pill• For Chronic Pain, A change in Habits can beat Opioids for Relief. discusses how a low tech approach focused on lifestyle change can be more effective than opioids when treating chronic pain. In fact the gold standard of treatment is a combination of exercise, rehabilitation therapies, yoga, and cognitive behavioral therapies.
• Harvard Health recently updated their article Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food which provides a variety of evidence that eating a diet of highly processed foods and meats significantly increases risk of depression. Many practitioners are embracing that the future of mental health treatment lies in nutrition as well as other lifestyle changes.
• The one study that has shown a reversal in Alzheimer’s Disease, follows a 36 point program, where many of the steps include lifestyle changes-diet, exercise, sleep etc.
• The Blue Zones Project has been championing lifestyle as a means to improve quality as well as length of life for years . Leveraging secrets discovered in Blue Zones around the world—rare longevity hotspots—Blue Zones Project® is helping transform communities across the U.S. into areas where the healthy choice is easy and people live longer with a higher quality of life. The Blue Zones research found nine characteristics of communities where people lived to advanced old age- Move naturally (no gym required): a sense of purpose; a plant slant diet; ate until they felt 80% full; drink wine @ fine; Down shift; Family first; Right Tribe; Belong. Interestingly, access to health care wasn’t noted as a characteristic.
In order to make this meaningful for American companies and communities, where Blue Zones Project are offered, the Power Nine have been distilled down to making the healthy choice the easy choice. These including configuring environments so that people move naturally and exercise is built into their day; eating wisely; connecting with others, “belong to live long;” and having the right outlook using tools such as mindfulness and purpose workshops.
How to Live to be 100+
Learn more about Lifestyle Medicine