MOVEMINT MEDICINE by DR. RAJAT CHAUHAN & DR. DARREN PLAYER

MOVEMINT MEDICINE by DR. RAJAT CHAUHAN & DR. DARREN PLAYER

Disclaimers first of all – and there are several of them :

1) Dr. Chauhan is a friend and my running mentor.

2) Dr. Player is a zoom acquaintance.

3) I am quoted in the book.

The latter first. It was such a thrill to see myself quoted in the good doctors’ book, even though I had no idea I would be.

Setting aside these fleeting 15 minutes of fame, this is a very interesting book, full of sage advice couched in layman’s terms, and gave me a lot of food for thought.

The authors have one fundamental, core belief – that we should all get moving. They both feel passionately that so many of society’s current aches and pains could be eased, if not solved, through a more active lifestyle. They are not advocating marathon running, or anything drastic like that, but rather a daily dose of some movement, whatever the reader can manage.

Let’s start with the title of the book:

“To raise awareness of the benefits of movement, physical activities and exercise, we coined the phrase “MoveMint Medicine”, a deliberate play on words…this relates to the psychological, emotional and general life aspects of MoveMint Medecine, where, through exercise, it is possible to see progress, not only in physical terms but in many aspects of life too…”

The authors are firm believers in people taking agency of their own lives, not passively accepting what society expects, nor (& they are both doctors, remember!) accepting unquestioningly everything the doctor says.

“Our idea here is to enable and empower you, and not to confuse you further. As is the intention of the book, you need to take a proactive role in your well-being and not be dependent on anyone else.”

They want us to question our life choices, to change what is unhealthy or counter-productive, and they are firmly of the belief that any step in the right direction is never too small.

Modern life, with all its so-called smart gadgets, is not always that smart:

“From pretty much the turn of this century, as soon as humans are born, they are being introduced to smartphones and gadgets…Never mind ‘smart’, these technologies are dumbing the species that prides itself to be the smartest, and hence on top of the food chain. Yes, adaptation is the one characteristic that really makes us unique. It is just that we have adapted to a very sad and harmful lifestyle. Unfortunately, as a species, we have gravitated towards things that are bad for you and away from the things that are good for us. We simply aren’t moving enough, not resting when we ought to, not eating when and where we should, while our mental health is royally messed up, all of them getting worse with each passing generation…”

And there, dear reader, you have the basic premise of the doctors’ MoveMint theory, which touches upon the key aspects of our lives – food, sleep, movement and mental wellbeing.

One of the things I especially appreciate about this book is that the medical and psychological explanations are phrased so that mere mortals like myself can understand them and not get blinded or intimidated by science:

“We have made a conscious effort to keep our messaging simple because psychology can get a bit too complex.”

This book is not aimed specifically at runners, but running and running analogies feature a lot and as a runner, I found the section on the psychology of running and running groups and running friends absolutely fascinating. The authors analyse why running friendships are the way they are, and there is a very revealing section on how social media fuels the need for people to share their accomplishments:

“Running gives us an identity, which for some of us, was lacking earlier, a need that is important to all of us…After having run a few races or maybe after having accomplished ‘good times’, some become delusional…”

That last bit made me laugh out loud.

Hands up any runner who doesn’t know a wannabe social media “influencer”.

But there is ample food for thought in what the authors say about the effects of social media on our behaviour, as well as the temptation to prioritise our running/sports friendships over others, because of the perceived validation it gives us.

“MoveMint Medicine” is an interesting, thought-provoking read, with good, friendly advice. Walking the talk, as it were, the good doctors conclude their book with some suggestions for simple exercises which every one of us can do easily, with no equipment, no big time crunch, but that will have a speedy impact on our lives.

I’ll end the way the book does – “Keep miling and smiling.”

And yeah, indulge me while I show off, please:

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