Will next year be any different?
So it's coming up to Christmas. For some (probably most) it's a time of indulgence. Christmas parties, Christmas dinners, Chocolate, Alcohol and every excuse under the frosty sky to stay inside and sit on the sofa. The new year will be different right? That's when you'll get around to sorting yourself out. More exercise. Eat better. Drink more water. Well now it's more important than ever to think about the choices you make over the next couple of months. There's no time like the present to start as you mean to go on. So maybe that new years resolution shouldn't wait until the new year.
The NHS have brought out two excellent infographics to put into perspective the real health risks we face today. As you'll see from the picture above the major killers are still heart disease, cancer and lung problems. We can all worry about things like being hit by a bus when we cross the road which of course is a risk but how much do we really think about the dangers of the lifestyle we lead and it's impact on our health.
This picture displays the lifestyle issues that create health risks. The majority of these are within your own control by simply doing some exercise and managing your diet. There is a wealth of evidence that exercise and a healthy diet can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Prevent obesity, reduce your risk of Diabetes, improve your bone and muscle health. About 75% of the risk factors that cause disease and illness are lifestyle related and the only prescription you need for them is exercise and a healthy diet. It's very simple really.
A previous edition of this newsletter discussed the following which you might find helpful
Diet and exercises
So that brings us to an often over looked element of our lifestyle and health consequences which is hydration status. We all know that we should probably drink more water as dehydration can contribute to sore joints and muscles, poor concentration, reduced fine motor skills, kidney damage, fatigue and more. Thirst isn't always the best indicator of hydration status as thirst comes quickly and goes quickly. You could feel thirsty and perhaps be 3 pints of water down on your hydration status. You then drink one pint of water and you are no longer thirsty, but does that mean you're now hydrated? Probably not. A simple way of knowing if you are hydrated properly is if you can "wee white once a day". Particularly when the weather is cold people are less likely to drink as much water as necessary so watch that hydration status.
Be careful what you drink as it might have more sugar than you think. The picture above surprised me. I've shown it to a number of people in clinic who were equally shocked. Hopefully this will allow you to make some better choices when keeping hydrated.
There's a certain amount of stress in all our lives which some might say is unavoidable. Too much stress isn't helpful. Exercise can go a long way towards managing those stress levels. Stress can lead to an unhealthy diet as you reach for those high sugar, high fat foods to cope but it's not the best option. Have a think about what's in the cupboards at home or in the office. If it's not there you can't pick at it. If you're that stressed that you think only a bar of chocolate will do it well then at least the walk to the shop will help and by the time you get there perhaps you won't "need" the chocolate anymore!!
Another edition of this newsletter is helpful here. Stress, back pain and the House of Health.
There's nothing new in the knowledge that too much salt and sodium in particular is not good for us. High levels of salt increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, headache and more. A really useful app is a thing called Food Switch UK which allows you to find an alternative to the food you buy with a lower salt content by simply scanning the bar-code on the packaging. Most of us eat similar things on a 2 week cycle so if you spend 2 weeks using this app you could reduce your salt content by 25% or more for the rest of your life. Do you have any idea how much salt is in the toast you have in the morning and is there a better alternative that lets you still have toast?
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