The continuing rise of lifestyle-related diseases and chronic disorders means that we need to take a fresh look at health and healthcare, and to remember that prevention is better than cure. Every time you resist the urge to smoke, you’re one step closer to breaking your nicotine habit for good so reward yourself for your hard work. Reflect on your efforts and how healthy you are becoming – after a couple of days you’re almost nicotine free and the carbon monoxide in your blood will have dropped. By three months, circulation and immune function will improve and coughing and wheezing will ease. You’ll also feel less stressed. By a year, your lungs will be healthier.
Calories accompany the nutrition in foods, and if you don’t expend them all, you’ll gain weight. Carrying extra weight increases your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Your lifestyle should support a constant healthy weight, so remain active daily. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlined the Physical Fitness Guidelines for Americans, and these guidelines focus on muscle strengthening exercise, such as weight lifting, along with aerobic exercise, such as walking or running. The guidelines suggest working toward completing 150 hours of exercise a week, but inactive adults should build to this gradually under the supervision of their doctor. You should also include exercise, such as yoga to improve flexibility.
The Heart Foundation community-based walking groups are free and led by volunteers, to help people stay active and take better care of their heart health. There is a group to suit everyone, including people over 50 years old, parents with children, workplaces and cultural groups. To find the nearest local walking group and to register online visit the Heart Foundation website.
Changing the time of day you take your medication may help you sleep. Discuss your medication, its side effects, dosage, and time of day taken with your doctor. Do not smoke. Smoking can cause preventable diseases such as lung cancer and other cancers. Stay away from secondhand smoke, since this can also be hazardous to your health.
It’s a good idea to see the same GP regularly. This means the doctor gets to know your medical history, and helps you feel more comfortable in talking about personal things. That way, when you have concerns about your health you are more likely to feel relaxed about seeing your GP, and they are more likely to be able to help.