Lifestyle medicine - the way forward

Lifestyle Medicine Conference

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We were delighted to be involved in the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine‘s Kernow conference last week. The BSLM is a national charity and community of healthcare professionals who aim to transform healthcare through lifestyle medicine.

The conference was led by the amazing BSLM Kernow team and supported by a team of friendly and helpful volunteers. It was packed with interesting talks from inspiring speakers, covering everything from diet to dementia.

The theme for the event was mental health and the importance of lifestyle medicine in addressing ways to improve and enhance mental health. The conference shared a plethora of evidence of the positive impact of lifestyle therapies for mental health and the need for more awareness and training in this area.

The importance of physical activity throughout life was emphasised to support positive mental health and help to address certain conditions including depression and anxiety.

The importance of keeping physically active as we age was also reiterated by Professor Sir Muir Gray as he talked about the Live Longer Better Programme, aimed at reducing the impacts of lockdown and keeping people active and independent into later life. We have a fabulous local lead here in Cornwall for LLB, in Rachel Faulkner, you can contact her by email to get involved: [email protected]

Preventing dementia was addressed by Professor Clive Ballard from Exeter university who made a really interesting link between hearing loss and dementia as people can begin to feel isolated as their hearing deteriorates. The social isolation felt during the pandemic has been profound and maintaining social contacts through whatever means is important for our mental wellbeing. We are starting a new “Chair and Chat” chair-based exercise session, with time to chat afterwards with a cuppa. Watch this space! (See our Wellness Through Yoga page.)

A very powerful presentation was given by Ross Jackson-Hicks from Man Down . This is a Cornish charity doing amazing work to support men’s mental health in Cornwall, reducing stigma and giving men a safe place to talk.

In a fascinating talk entitled “Nature in Modern Life” by Dr Lucy Loveday, she challenged us to ditch our mobiles and immerse ourselves in nature for our mental wellbeing. This reminded me so much of the power of Mindfulness and the wonderful opportunities nature gives us for pausing and soaking in the wonder.

The day was both inspirational and informative, backed by more evidence-based studies than you could shake a stick at! I can’t wait for the next one!