Now that spring has arrived, there’s no better time to re-evaluate your health and wellbeing. Here are our top 5 tips for healthy living this spring. Remember, if you need help making any lifestyle changes, we can assist!
Tip #1: Increase your physical activity
If you’ve been hibernating during the winter months, it’s time to get out there and get active this Spring! There are so many positives associated with increasing your activity levels. These include reducing the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes; lowering your blood pressure; improving your mood; reducing stress; and so much more.
A recent study by the University of British Columbia found regular aerobic exercise even improves brain function. Essentially, it increases the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning (source: Harvard Health Publishing).
Aim to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days of the week. Walk, swim, dance – whatever tickles your fancy. You may even consider taking up a new sport this spring. Remember, if you happen to suffer any sports-related injuries, we can help.
Tip #2: Boost your fruit and vegetable intake
When you’re perpetually on-the-go, it can be easy for your diet and nutrition to slip. During winter, in particular, we tend to eat heavy meals and often indulge in comfort foods. Well, spring is a time for new beginnings, so why not focus on getting your diet in check over the coming months?
You can find healthy eating tips and portion size advice on the Australian Government’s Eat for Health website (https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au). The key to eating well is to have a balanced diet, with a variety of nutritious foods from each of the five food groups.
If you do nothing else, aim to increase your vegetable intake this spring. Most Australians eat only half the recommended amount of vegetables per day (you should be eating at least five serves of approximately 75g a day). Examples of a serve include ½ a cup of cooked broccoli, ½ a cup of cooked lentils, ½ a cup of sweet corn and 1 medium tomato. If in doubt, ask us for nutrition advice.
Tip #3: Nurture your mental health
Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical self. There are many things you can do to help improve your mental health this spring.
Start by getting enough sleep. This will help improve mood, concentration and performance at work or school. Adults should aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, while teenagers can afford up to 10 hours a night.
Next, take time to enjoy your soul food. Whatever it is you love doing, whether it be reading or playing the banjo, dedicate some time each week this spring to doing just that.
Lastly, connect with others. Spend time with friends and family and people who help boost your spirits. You may even like to try some new activities this spring to form new connections. You could volunteer. Start a new hobby. Join a club. Try a new sport.
If you’re feeling down or out of sorts, or you’d just like to learn some skills for how to handle the tough times, we offer support. Our on-site psychologists are ready to help.
Tip #4: Cut out bad habits
Spring is the perfect time to say goodbye to bad habits like smoking. If you’ve been procrastinating about quitting, the biggest motivator should be that it’s the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia.
Hot tip: A great place to start is to head to the Quit Now website. You’ll find heaps of tools and support to help you get started.
There’s also a Quit Now app called My QuitBuddy which may assist. It offers tips, daily motivational reminders and goal-setting features. If money is a motivator, you may like to check out the Quit Now Calculator to work out how much money you’re going to save.
As your GP, we can also offer advice and assistance about how to tackle any bad habits, so please book in.
Tip 5: Book in for your annual check-ups
Our final tip for healthy living this spring is to book in for any annual check-ups you’ve been putting off. Maybe you haven’t had your cholesterol or blood pressure checked in years? Perhaps you’ve procrastinated about booking in for a pap smear or a sexual health check? We offer a vast range of medical services, so please give us a call today!
We hope we’ve inspired you to work on your health and wellbeing this spring. Remember, your health is your greatest wealth, so it’s worth investing in!