Lifestyle Medicine

What is Lifestyle Medicine?

Lifestyle Medicine is evidence-based clinical care that focuses on behavioural lifestyle changes to improve your overall health and wellbeing. This practice aims to move away from the overuse of medication to treat conditions related to lifestyle. In turn, Lifestyle Medicine focuses on improving people’s health through six pillars.

These are mental wellbeing, physical activity, healthy relationships, healthy eating, sleep and minimising use of harmful substances.

woman showing elderly man a crate full of vegetables and fruit

The Six Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine

Find out what each of the pillars are and why they lay the foundations for optimal health.

young man sleeping in bed

Sleep

Sleep is the cornerstone of lifestyle medicine and is fundamental for overall health. Adequate, good quality sleep plays a pivotal role in regulating various bodily functions, including mood, cognition, and physical health. It’s during sleep that our bodies repair and rejuvenate, which is essential for mental wellbeing and to help manage stress.

Poor sleep patterns are linked to numerous health issues including depression, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Therefore, prioritising good sleep hygiene is crucial to improve physical and mental wellbeing, improve energy levels, and maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Discover tips on how to improve your sleep.

older woman meditates outside within enclosed peaceful scenary

Mental Wellbeing

Mental wellbeing stands as a central pillar of lifestyle medicine, emphasising the profound connection between mind and body. Prioritising mental health is crucial for overall wellbeing, as it directly influences physical health and quality of life.

Lifestyle medicine teaches proven techniques to reduce stress and help people with relaxation. These include using nature, exercise, social connection and mindfulness to reduce stress levels, prevent and improve common mental health conditions. By nurturing and prioritising mental wellbeing, there can be a natural improvement in physical health, sleep and healthy eating too as well as reduction of harmful substances people often use to cope.

Read our advice on how you can improve your mental wellbeing.

woman walking in nature

Physical Activity

Physical activity is crucial for both physical and mental health. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight, improves cardiovascular health, and enhances muscle and bone strength. Beyond the physical, it’s a potent mood booster – reducing stress and anxiety while naturally increasing the release of endorphins. 

Lifestyle medicine encourages incorporating physical activity into daily routines to reduce how much time we spend sitting down in order to prevent chronic diseases, elevate mood, and maintain overall health. It also aims to ensure we stay strong, fit and healthy as we grow older to have the best quality of life we can for many years to come.

Find out more about the importance of Physical Activity and tips on how to become more active.

Healthy platter of food, including meat, vegetables, dairy and fruit

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet serves as a fundamental pillar of lifestyle medicine and strongly contributes to our overall wellbeing. What we eat profoundly influences our physical health, including weight management, heart health, and disease prevention. Equally crucial, it significantly impacts mental health, with certain nutrients playing pivotal roles in mood regulation and cognitive function.

Lifestyle medicine champions the adoption of balanced, varied and nutrient-rich diets to optimise health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and enhance mental wellbeing – reinforcing the idea that food is medicine for both body and mind.

Find out more about the importance of a Healthy Diet and views resources to improve what you eat.

family members joyously sit for dinner at dining table outside

Healthy Relationships

Healthy relationships is a key pillar in lifestyle medicine – recognising the profound impact of social connections to overall wellbeing. Positive relationships provide emotional support, reduce stress and enhance mental health. They can also influence lifestyle choices and encourage healthy habits. Conversely, toxic relationships can lead to chronic stress and negatively affect mental and physical health.

Lifestyle medicine promotes fostering and maintaining meaningful, supportive relationships to help develop a crucial sense of belonging and purpose.

Read our tips on forming and maintaining Healthy Relationships.

Friends drinking juice happily together

Minimising Harmful Substances

Minimising harmful substances emphasises the importance of avoiding or reducing exposure to toxins, pollutants, and addictive substances. Lifestyle medicine recognizes that these substances can harm both physical and mental health, contributing to chronic diseases and mental health difficulties.

Through the reduction of harmful substances, individuals can safeguard their wellbeing, improve their quality of life, and work towards a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

Find out more about the importance of Minimising Harmful Substances and view resources of support.

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Read Our Six Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine Pamphlet

For more information, and to view various resources for each pillar of lifestyle medicine, take a look at our free, personally crafted Six Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine Booklet.

Contact Chelmsford Private GPs

If you’re struggling with any of the issues mentioned above, please get in touch today and we’ll be happy to chat.