Lifestyle Medicine and Moving Every Day

Lifestyle Medicine and Moving Every Day by Dr Claire Gillvray – Blog Post #7

Published on Wednesday 17th January 2024 by guest contributor Dr Claire Gillvray

I’m Dr Claire Gillvray and I am so pleased to announce that I have a new role as Lifestyle Medicine Lead for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, working alongside the How Are You Cambridgeshire & Peterborough team. Part of my remit is to push lifestyle medicine further up the healthcare agenda in the county…but what is lifestyle medicine?

Lifestyle medicine covers six pillars we can work on to improve our health and wellbeing. Movement and exercise is one. Eating a nutritious diet that is unprocessed, varied and resembles a Mediterranean diet is the second. Getting good quality sleep is the third. Thinking about stress management which is different for everyone but may include mindfulness, meditation, creativity and being in nature is the fourth. Isolation has been found to be as detrimental to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day so having social networks is pillar number five. Lastly, avoiding harmful substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and drugs is the sixth pillar.

This list of six pillars can be overwhelming – particularly if we’ve not made lifestyle changes for a while. However, I suggest finding just one thing to start with. Set an achievable goal and celebrate your success. That’s why I’m doing RED January this year. Though the original message was to ‘Run Every Day’ (hence RED), we now know that ANY daily movement is beneficial – the key is consistency. I like to think of it as Reset Every Day – an opportunity to be intentional about our health and to stick with it even if some days are better than others. The great thing is you can start RED January at any point in January and you don’t need to make big changes to see big improvements.

Here are some tricks and tips that may help you stay on track:

🏆 Going from nothing to something has a massive health benefit – so it’s worth just getting started even if your movement goal is modest.

🏅 Habits are harder to break – so it is worth tying your daily movement goal to something you do every day anyway – so march on the spot whilst you brush your teeth or do some wall press-ups while the kettle boils.

🏆 We sustain things if we have support – enlist family, friends or colleagues to keep you on track & do the activity you’ve chosen together. Go for a walk or do that exercise video with someone.

🏅 We stick with things we enjoy so choose something that feels good!

If you are stuck for inspiration – from places to walk outdoors to exercise classes or running groups, take a look at the How Are You Cambridgeshire & Peterborough websites – there’s a wide range of physical activities to suit all ages, interests and abilities on your doorstep. Take a look and keep moving!

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