There are lots of factors that influence your health and wellbeing and they are all really important areas to address. There are some simple things you can do to help keep healthy and feeling well.
Physical activity/ exercise is the best medicine for your body. It is anything that gets you moving a bit. It includes everyday activities such as housework, gardening, DIY. Plus exercise like walking, dancing, yoga, going to the gym.
Why should I do it?
There is lots of evidence and research to say how good it is for us. It gives us many health benefits and we know that a lack of exercise can lead to many health problems. Research shows us that if we exercise regularly, we are:
-up to 35% less likely to develop heart disease
-up to 50% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
-up to 20% less likely to develop breast cancer
-up to 83% less likely to develop osteoarthritis
-up to 30% less likely to fall if you are an older adult
(NHS Choices website: Benefits of Exercise)
How much should I do?
Recent guidelines suggest all adults over the age of 18 should aim to be active every day. Over a week, this should total at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity. This should be in blocks of at least 10 minutes or 75 minutes of harder activity or a combination of moderate and harder activity.
Moderate exercise means your heart rate rises, you breathe faster and feel warmer.
It is normal for your muscles to ache a bit when you start exercising, which may last for a few days after exercises. If symptoms last longer, you may need to start more gradually and, if concerned, seek advice from your GP or a physiotherapist.
If you have a medical condition, or if you are recovering from an injury, you should check with your GP or physiotherapist before starting any new form of exercise.
Excess weight impacts directly on your joints. For example, being 10 pounds overweight will increase the force on your knees by 30-60 pounds with each step.
You can check your BMI using the BMI calculator (www.nhs.uk/bmi).
The food you eat helps to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut which have a large effect on your immune system. Your immune system helps fight infection and illness and is part of the ‘pain system’. A diet where you aim to eat non-processed natural foods free from additives, colourings and added sugar is good for feeding your gut what makes it work best..
If you need any further advice with your weight or diet, there are options for referral to weight management groups locally. Please speak to your health care professional for further information. There are also some on- line resources to try at home, such as:
Getting a good night’s sleep is another important area to aid wellbeing. Everyone is different in terms of how much sleep they need, with many studies showing this can range from 4 hours to 10 or more. Simple changes, such as reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake, avoiding exercise late in the evening, considering room temperature/ noise levels/ avoiding using your phone before bed can all make a difference.
Further advice can be found on-line: The Good Sleep Guide, from the CSP (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy), www.csp.org.uk
The Wellbeing Service also have lots of advice about relaxation techniques and improving your sleep, www.wellbeingnands.co.uk, tel: 0300 123 1503