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Five Ways To Stay Healthy - And Not Just For January

31/01/2017 13:07

Many people struggle to stick to their New Year's resolutions, and as we wave goodbye to a very cold January, those good intentions might be starting to wear off.

Most resolutions are related to diet and health, and whether you want to lose weight, drink less, get fit or stop smoking, cold and grey January days and the reality of getting back to the daily routine can throw even the most motivated people off track.

Modern life has made it increasingly easy to eat too much of the wrong thing, drink more than we should and to be less active, and without knowing it, by the time we reach middle age or later life, many people will have dramatically increased their chances of becoming ill in the future.

However, the good news is that by making small, simple changes that are easier to maintain you can make a real difference to your health and wellbeing - not just for a New Year, but for life.

Here are five simple things you can do to live a healthier lifestyle:

1. If you smoke, quit
Smoking damages your body in many ways, increases your risk of long-term conditions including heart disease, cancer and stroke, and can harm the health of your family too.

No matter how long you've smoked for, quitting can help improve your health straight away, with added benefits for your everyday life, including all the money you'll save.

There are lots of ways to quit, from nicotine replacement therapies or e-cigarettes, to free quit tools and expert support from local NHS stop smoking services, meaning you can find support that fits into your lifestyle and suits your needs.

2. Eat a balanced diet
The evidence shows that, as a nation, we consume too many calories and our diets are too high in salt, sugar and fat. Maintaining a healthy weight in childhood and as an adult is critical for good health and helps to avoid type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Takeaways and processed foods often feel like the easiest option, and adverts for sugary drinks and sweet treats are tempting, but by making some small changes and food swaps you can still enjoy the foods you love and cut back on excess calories. The Be Food Smart app helps to make it easier.

3. Get enough exercise
Being active is really good for your body, mind and health, but if you're not as active as you should be you are putting your health and quality of life at risk.

To stay healthy or to improve health, you need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and strength exercises. The recommended amount varies for different age groups, but for most adults, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week.

Fitting in some physical activity each day is easier than you think and there are lots of easy ways you and your family can get moving - a few small changes can make a big difference to your life and how you feel.

4. Drink less alcohol
Many people enjoy a drink during social occasions or have a drink now and then to unwind. It is important to make sure that the occasional glass doesn't become two or three on most days, as this can harm your body, from making you gain weight to increasing your risk of cancer.

So how much is too much? Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. It's important to know how much you are drinking and the easy ways you can cut back, and tools such as this free Alcohol Checker can help you keep track.

5. Get checked out
It's important to keep on top of your health - from getting your eyes checked to getting tested for HIV. Why not take a few minutes to complete the How Are You? Quiz and find out where you can take a little action to make a big difference to your health? If you're aged 40 to 74 you may also be eligible for a free NHS Health Check, which is a great way to check your health and get personalised advice on keeping healthy and active.

Public Health England's One You campaign offers a wealth of support and advice on all of these steps to better health, plus information on dealing with stress and getting good quality sleep.

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