Lifestyle medicine aims to improve health and well-being by changing the physical activity we do, how we eat, how we sleep, and stress management.
These changes can result in a positive impact on physical health, mental health, and social connections.
Lifestyle medicine is a movement that emphasizes prevention rather than management.
The goal is to improve physical activity, nutrition, sleep habits, stress levels, and social connection to enjoy the benefits of good health: feeling more energetic, having more restful sleep, enjoying a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eating less fat and sugar; reducing the risk of heart problems; lowering stress levels; making healthy changes that are sustainable over the long-term; connecting loved ones through meaningful conversations or regular physical activity together.
The Field of Lifestyle Medicine
The practice of lifestyle medicine is a medical specialty that uses therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to address chronic conditions such as cardiovascular issues, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Such interventions can decrease the risk and improve health outcomes by emphasizing healthy choices. Certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive changes and, when used intensively, often reverse these conditions.
These clinicians work with patients to develop and implement healthy lifestyle changes, including dietary changes, physical activity goals, smoking cessation programs, stress management techniques and sleep hygiene practices. Furthermore, they help patients identify health problems and develop plans to address them. Their ultimate goal is to help patients achieve optimal health through lifestyle changes.
As a medical practitioner, it is crucial to incorporate these elements into a patient’s health care plan. A whole-food, plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and adequate sleep are essential components of lifestyle medicine. Moreover, follow-up visits allow practitioners to assess the patient’s progress and provide positive reinforcement when appropriate.
Regular follow-ups also help practitioners identify barriers that may have been present in a patient’s plan that prevented its success. Additionally, these visits can help celebrate any successes a patient has had. Following these steps, practitioners have been helping patients make positive changes and achieve optimal health.
Examples of Lifestyle-Related Changes
One of the key benefits is that it helps individuals make changes that can improve their health and well-being. These changes include a whole-food, plant-based eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, and avoidance of risky substances and social connections.
Lifestyle changes are vital to addressing chronic issues such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart problems. One of the best ways to implement it is by ensuring that a healthcare provider addresses all aspects of an individual’s health, from physical to mental to social. By taking care of all aspects of health, a doctor or patient can help individuals make informed decisions about improving their health and well-being.
Dealing with Stress and Anxiety
Dealing with stress and anxiety can be a challenge. An individual can reduce stress and anxiety by developing a regular sleep schedule and routine to improve sleep quality, expressing gratitude and appreciation, enjoying nature, and practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).
Other methods include counseling methods such as motivational interviewing to identify patient readiness to change and provide stage-appropriate lifestyle interventions. It is also essential to understand the components of emotional wellness self-management and use screening tools. These strategies can help improve an individual’s health and well-being.
Healthy Eating Simplified Through Nutrition
A healthy diet can help prevent type 2 diabetes and heart complications. However, it can be hard to follow a healthy diet if in a hurry or the patient has little time. One way to simplify the healthy eating plan is by keeping an average weight, engaging in physical activity of at least 350 minutes a week, and not smoking. A good nutrition plan should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or non-dairy milk.
Misconceptions About Lifestyle Medicine
Lifestyle medicine is not a new practice. The American College of Lifestyle Medicine provides board certification, and physicians have been integrating related factors into their medical care practices for years.
A whole-food, plant-based diet is one of the most effective interventions for prevention. In addition to these modifications, engaging in physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight is essential for management. Other lifestyle factors that can be incorporated into patient care include reducing harmful substances in the environment and moderating the effects of stress on health.
The goal is to prevent, suspend, and reverse chronic conditions related to lifestyle choices. By incorporating these factors into patient care, physicians can help patients reach optimal health and reduce healthcare costs. The competencies of lifestyle medicine help health professionals understand how lifestyle factors impact health.
Are there any drawbacks to using lifestyle medicine?
Yes, many lifestyle changes require a significant amount of time, which some individuals can find overwhelming. Additionally, the results may not be immediate, so it can be hard to stay motivated. Finally, lifestyle medicine can be expensive; for example, healthy foods are more costly than processed or fast food options.
What’s Next For Lifestyle Medicine Certification?
Lifestyle medicine is becoming increasingly integrated into the medical field, with organizations like The Plantrician Project and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine leading the charge.
The ACLM began providing board certification to qualified physicians in 2017 and now offers webinars to help define and differentiate lifestyle medicine from other types. Through these programs, medical providers can build their knowledge and skills in this field and gain recognition as leaders in health and wellness.
Research is also being conducted to incorporate further lifestyle medicine and its potential to reform healthcare. For example, it could provide an alternative option for management. In addition, guidelines are being developed by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to guide healthcare professionals in providing optimal care for patients worldwide. Overall, lifestyle medicine is gaining recognition as a vital component of health care that can play a critical role in improving chronic issue management.
Lifestyle medicine is a medical approach that focuses on these changes, such as physical activity, diet, stress management, and sleep, to prevent chronic issues and promote overall health and wellness. As lifestyle medicine becomes more popular for its effectiveness in improving health outcomes, you can use BioScan to educate your patients about this approach so that they can make informed lifestyle choices.
If you found this valuable, consider sharing it using the buttons below.