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  • awarrenfuller

Exercise and Movement...Every Damn Day

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

The second pillar of Lifestyle Medicine is exercise and movement. Lifestyle Medicine is a medical specialty that uses lifestyle interventions as the primary path to treat and prevent chronic disease. The six pillars of lifestyle include:

  1. Plant-based whole foods

  2. Exercise and Movement

  3. Restorative sleep

  4. Stress management

  5. Social connection

  6. Avoidance of risky substances such as tobacco and drugs and limiting alcohol

In my blog post from January 2023, I talked about pillar 1, plant-based whole foods as the proven best diet to prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic disease. Today, let’s talk about exercise and movement.

In my medical practice, I perform a lot of “Welcome to Medicare” physicals – which is the first comprehensive exam that is recommended when someone turns 65 and is new to Medicare. And I can tell before I ever lay eyes on the patient, or even look at their vital signs, weight, or BMI, whether or not they exercise. The tell is the medication list. If I see a half-page-long list of prescription drugs, 9 times out of 10, this patient isn’t moving enough.

Our bodies are meant to move. Being sedentary makes us soft and fall apart as we age.

My mantra in medicine and life: LIVE WITH THE END IN MIND

If you’re not already there, you’re headed for your Welcome to Medicare physical and it will be here before you know it. Living with the end in mind means investing in your future self, today. How do you want to feel when you retire? Really think about that. I suggest even writing it down, as detailed as possible. Here are a few prompts:

What does a typical day look like when you retire?

What time do you get up?

Do you hop out of bed easily? How does your body feel?

How long does it take you to walk from your bedroom to the bathroom?

What do you eat for breakfast?

Do you take any medication?

How do you spend your day?

How much TV do you watch?

How often do you see your doctor?

Do you have any medical problems? Chronic pain?

Most of us envision ourselves in retirement with the same level of independence and vitality as we have at this moment. However, if exercise and movement are not part of your daily practice, the risk of chronic disease, frequent doctor visits, and a pillbox full of prescription drugs go way up.

Live with the end in mind might sound morbid or dark but, to me, it’s a hopeful and optimistic mantra that keeps me moving and making healthy decisions every day that support my future self. And bonus…it also helps me feel great today too.

It’s never too late to start moving and investing in your future self.

Here is my prescription for you. Start today. Repeat daily, forever.

We know from the research on healthspan and longevity, that daily movement is just as important (if not more so) than daily exercise. What do I mean by movement? Vacuuming, playing with your kids at the park, walking across the parking lot to your car, even fidgeting -- any time you move your meat suit, it's a win. Move daily and often because we know that those who move the most, tend to live the longest and healthiest.



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