Take a look at the latest Health Column which should be appearing in local press shortly …

Promoting Healthy Behaviours

As the UK begins to ease restrictions concerning COVID-19, it may be natural for some of us to get complacent about our healthcare routines. However, in order to prevent further outbreak we must continue to actively take precautions that will ensure the safety of ourselves and our loved ones.

As has been widely publicised, those at most risk of COVID-19 being fatal have underlying medical conditions. Many of these, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic respiratory disease are largely preventable if you have a healthy lifestyle. With this in mind, I thought I’d use this month’s column to provide some useful tips on how we can follow healthy behaviours, not only to protect ourselves but also prevent the NHS from being put under any more pressure.

Healthy eating

Eating healthily can seem like a simple task, but sometimes it’s hard to know which foods are healthy and which aren’t. It is important to understand the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, with the NHS advising you get most of your fat from unsaturated oils and spreads. These include avocado, nuts and olive oil. For more information on this visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/.

Fizzy drinks should also be avoided. One small can of cola contains around 35g of sugar… which is 5g more than the recommended daily intake!

Regular exercise

Adults should do some type of physical activity every day. Any type of activity is good for you, and the more you do the better!

Adults should:

  • Aim to be physically active every day. This can be anything from going on a walk (providing you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 and follow the government guidelines on social distancing) to following a workout video at home.
  • Do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) at least twice a week.
  • Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week.
  • Reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.

You can also achieve your weekly activity target with:

  • Several short sessions of very vigorous intensity activity.
  • A mix of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous intensity activity.

Exercising regularly could also lead to a more positive state of mental wellbeing. Not only does the body release endorphins when you exercise which triggers a positive feeling, exercise can also provide structure to your day in uncertain times.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can have many positive outcomes. Firstly, shedding excess fat could reduce the risk of having medical complications such as type 2 diabetes. Secondly, seeing your body progress into a healthier shape can make you more confident and provide a sense of achievement and pride. One way of checking you’re a healthy weight is by visiting the NHS’s BMI healthy weight calculator at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/.

Stop smoking

Smokers have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 because they are repetitively putting their hands to their lips. And then, if they get COVID-19, they run a greater risk of getting a severe case because their lung function is impaired.

Some quick tips to curb your cravings:  

  1. Delay: Delay giving in to your urge for as long as you can.
  2. Deep breathing: Take 10 deep breaths to relax yourself from within until the urge passes.
  3. Drink water: Drinking water is a healthy alternative to putting a cigarette in your mouth.
  4. Do something else to distract yourself: Take a shower or bath, read a gripping book, go for a walk, watch a film, listen to music!

Not exceeding the recommended daily salt intake

NHS guidelines suggest adults should eat a maximum of 6g of salt a day. Most packaged food and drink list the amount of salt they contain, allowing you to keep track of how much you eat.

If you have any questions or queries, then feel free to speak to one of our Health Champions. You don’t need to book an appointment with them and they can offer useful advice in unprecedented time. Look after yourselves and stay safe.