Chronic health conditions, such as obesity, stroke, heart disease or diabetes, are on the rise but there are easy lifestyle changes you can implement to decrease your chance of developing one of these illnesses.
Here are six changes you can apply right now:
Having a strong social network surrounding you can help you cope with the stress that life throws at you. Bills, family problems, loss and other life struggles can be tough to handle alone. People who suffer from loneliness can often suffer from stress, depression and cardiovascular issues. Having someone to support you and for you to give your support to, aside from helping relieve stress and anxiety, can also have a positive effect on your immune system.
Obesity has skyrocketed in Australia over the past 10 years. The main causes, of course, are poor diet, a lack of exercise, and not being educated on the risk factors associated with obesity and overall health. Working with an accredited dietician to make sure you are eating the correct foods groups and staying away from fatty, salty, and sugary items can help combat the risks associated with obesity as well as keep your body and mind functioning at its optimum.
Or you can read up on the topic – there are plenty of books out there – and apply your new knowledge when you next go shopping for food.
With all the commitments life throws our way, it’s easy not to prioritise exercise, but with so many benefits, putting aside just 30 minutes for exercise five times a week can bring about a real improvement in your overall health and wellbeing. The right exercise can also help you maintain the ability to live independently for longer because it reduces the risk of falls, reduces blood pressure, helps maintain healthy, strong bones, muscles and joints, reduces joint swelling and pain.
And it’s said to reduce anxiety, depression and improve mood, just to name a few additional pluses.
If you need a little no-cost help to get your health goals on track, there is plenty of it out there. Programs such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) Heart Health Programme aim to help you increase your physical health and wellbeing through practical exercise, nutrition and lifestyle management support.
It’s a 52-week program and includes two physical activity sessions per week that are tailored to meet your needs, along with 12 health education seminars. You can find more information at the Heart Health Programme website.
Old injuries and medical conditions can become more severe if untreated and even result in further complications. As many as 15 per cent of people who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, for example, may have developed joint problems because of a previous injury. Seeing a qualified exercise practitioner can help reduce any reoccurring symptoms you have and possibly avoid further injuries or health conditions.
There are many services Australia-wide and can all be claimed through Medicare, and the DVA if you have access to veterans’ benefits.
Studies have shown a glass of red wine a few times a week can benefit your heart health, but excessive drinking puts pressure on your kidneys and liver, as well as causing an increase in weight. Meanwhile, we all know the effects smoking can have on an individual’s health, not least by increasing your risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Reducing, or even better, not smoking or drinking at all, will help you live a healthier later life.
With so much information and help available out there, get your friends together and get started today. Step-by-step, you can take control of your health and vitality – remember, your health status today doesn’t have to be your future.
These tips have been prepared by Nicholas Flanigan, who has a Bachelor degree in Exercise Sport Science from Sydney University. He founded the NJF Wellness Centres in 2008 with the aim of providing clients with the knowledge and ability to manage their own health and increase their wellbeing. For further information on improving your health and wellness you can visit NJF Wellness Centres.