On this page we will share lots of the suggested ways to maintain a healthy mind and body. Being as healthy as you can be will stand you in good stead to fight off any illnesses and keep doing the things you enjoy for longer.
A Healthy Heart
A healthy lifestyle will make your heart healthier. Here are some tips to a healthier heart:
- Give up smoking. If you're a smoker, quit. It's the single best thing you can do for your heart health. Smoking is one of the main causes of heart disease. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker. You're more likely to stop smoking for good if you use the NHS stop smoking services. Click to visit the Smokefree website or ask your GP for help with quitting. There are also some great tips here for help to quit.
- Manage your weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and sugar, with plenty of fruit and vegetables (click here to view the NHS Eatwell guide), combined with regular physical activity. Find out if you're a healthy weight with the BMI calculator. If you're overweight, you could try the 12-week NHS weight loss plan.
- Get active. Getting and staying active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It can also be a great mood booster and stress buster. The NHS website recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. One way to achieve this target is by doing 30 minutes of activity on 5 days a week. Fit it in where you can, such as by cycling to work. Click here for ideas on more moderate activity ideas from the NHS or you can see our Keeping Fit blog post.
- Eat your 5 a day. Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. They're a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. There are lots of tasty ways to get your 5 A Day, like adding chopped fruit to cereal or including vegetables in your pasta sauces and curries. Get more 5 A Day fruit and veg tips.
- Drink less alcohol. Do not forget that alcohol contains calories. Regularly drinking more than the NHS recommends can have a noticeable impact on your waistline. Try to keep to the recommended daily alcohol limits to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart health. Click here for more information about calories in alcohol
- Cut down on saturated fat & read the food label. Eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. This increases your risk of heart disease. Choose leaner cuts of meat and lower fat dairy products like 1% fat milk over full-fat (or whole) milk. Read the facts about fat. When shopping, it's a good idea to look at the label on food and drinks packaging to see how many calories and how much fat, salt and sugar the product contains. Understanding what's in food and how it fits in with the rest of your diet will help you make healthier choices.
- Eat more fibre, less salt & more fish! Eating plenty of fibre helps lower your risk of heart disease - aim for at least 30g a day. Eat fibre from a variety of sources, such as wholemeal bread, bran & wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and plenty of fruit & veg. Click here for more information on getting fibre in to your diet. To maintain healthy blood pressure, avoid using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking. Once you get used to the taste of food without added salt, you can cut it out completely. Watch out for high salt levels in ready-made foods. For more facts on salt, click here. Eat fish at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish. Fish such as pilchards, sardines and salmon are a source of omega-3 fats, which may help protect against heart disease. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not have more than 2 portions of oily fish a week. Click here for more information on eating fish.
A Healthy Body – things to consider
Whilst not vital, these things can be just as important to living well.
- Breast changes. As you get older, it’s natural for your breasts to lose their firmness, change shape, shrink in size and become more prone to certain abnormal lumps. In most cases, breast lumps are harmless, but whatever your age it’s important that you report any new lumps to your doctor. From the age of 40, you can expect your breasts to change in size and shape. For more information, click here.
- Prostate changes. Benign prostate enlargement (BPE) is the medical term to describe an enlarged prostate, a condition that can affect how you pee (urinate). BPE is common in men aged over 50. It's not a cancer and it's not usually a serious threat to health, but it is useful for everyone to read about. For more information, click here.
- Foot care. Click here to see tips from the College of Podiatry will keep your feet in good condition and help prevent problems. Common foot problems can included athletes foot, verrucas and ingrowing toenails, all of which can be incredibly painful.
- Skin care. Your skin works hard to keep you healthy, and you can return the favour by taking care of it. One of the biggest ways to look after yous skin is to stay safe in the sun, protecting yourself from harmful UV rays. Click here for information on this and here for information on common skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Ears. Hearing loss can't always be prevented - sometimes it's just part of getting older. But hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises is completely avoidable. There are some simple things you can do to help stop loud noises from permanently damaging your hearing, no matter how old you are. take a look at the NHS website here for lots of tips and advice on looking after your ears, here. There is also a page dedicated to hearing aids, here. The models available nowadays on the NHS are a great improvement on those used in the past. They're smaller and neater, and they work better too.The earlier you get them, the more you'll get out of them - so don't wait until your hearing gets really bad before seeing your GP.
- Eyes. It's easy to neglect your eyes because they often do not hurt when there's a problem. Having an eye test will not just tell you if you need new glasses or a change of prescription - it's also an important eye health check. An optician can spot many general health problems and early signs of eye conditions before you're aware of any symptoms, many of which can be treated if found early enough. Click here for lots of tips on looking after your eyes and here for some common problems that may occur in older people.
- Teeth. Teeth are very important to look after, especially the adult set and encouraging children to take responsibility from a young age. Visit the NHS website here for lots of tips and advice on the best ways to look after your teeth. There are often a lot of questions about NHS dentistry, so they have made a specific page to, hopefully, clear up some confusing questions, here.
- Sexual health. One of our partner agencies is the Terrence Higgins Trust. Click here to visit their website and read more on sexual health, from contraception to STI advice. We also have drop in clinics for under 25's on a Tuesday from 4-6pm in our Community Room.
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