The new year often brings optimism for those who wish to make lifestyle changes. These changes don’t necessarily have to be costly or (too!) painful and with a bit of creativity you can enjoy getting into a new regimen. There are studies out there that show how being overweight, not exercising, smoking and drinking contribute directly to 60% of deaths, give or take.

Our role as your GP is to encourage, advise, cajole and help as much as possible.

Here are a few useful tips to help you get healthy in 2018!

Food & diet

Try cooking more meals yourself from scratch so that you know exactly what goes into your food. A balanced diet is achievable with a bit of effort and planning. Cooking in batches and freezing can be a way to ensure you always have something healthy and nice available to you.

 

 

Try to cut down on take away foods, & be wary of ‘low-fat’ foods that often load up on sugar and salt to offset the lower fat content. Don’t skip your breakfast as this reduces your propensity to take sugary snacks during the day.

Exercise

Exercise is essential to staying healthy and keeping your heart in shape. Adults should aim for 2 and 1/2 hours of physical activity weekly in bursts of no less than ten minutes. This can be difficult to achieve so the smaller measures can help-walking to work (or walking part of the distance), using the stairs, avoiding lifts. Sometimes joining a team or exercising with a friend is a good way to get active. Gyms are great for some but not for everybody-if you are thinking about going to the gym maybe negotiate a few visitor passes for your self first before you shell out on a membership.

 

 

Setting a goal (like a 5k or 10k) can help and some like to exercise at home-there are a huge number of free videos on Youtube to help you along the way.

Exercise is also a great way to keep the mind active.

Sleep

Sleeping is obviously essential to our physical and mental well-being. As GPs, difficulty sleeping is something that we see on an extremely regular basis. Insomnia of some way, shape or form has a significant affect on about 33% of all adults.

 

 

The main causes of poor or broken sleep include:

  • Stress, anxiety and depression/low mood
  • Excessive fluid or caffeine intake (especially late at night)
  • Parenting, especially young babies
  • Watching TV or playing computer games in bed
  • Irregular hours (things like shift work can contribute)
  • Noise like traffic, street noise  or snoring!

Insomnia is difficult to treat, and this excellent link goes a long way to dealing with the topic in a practical fashion.

Smoking

We have chatted about quitting smoking on this website before and that piece is available here. We know that quitting smoking is a very difficult task and are here to support our patients in their efforts as much as we can.

 

 

Alcohol

Excessive alcohol intake in Ireland is a major cause of ill-health both physical and mental.

The line between enjoying a drink and lapsing into a harmful pattern is often not a clear one. If you are unsure as to whether you are drinking too much it is worth asking your self a few questions.

  • Have you ever lost a relationship with a friend, partner or relative over alcohol?
  • Have you ever had a legal complication from excessive alcohol intake (e.g. drink-driving, drunk & disorderly etc)?
  • Have you ever missed school, college, university or work or had your performance affected due to excessive alcohol intake?
  • Have you ever had a medical complication directly associated with excessive alcohol intake? (e.g. depression, anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, stomach ulcer, liver failure, erectile dysfunction or had an accident or hospital admission/encounter….etc etc)

Alcohol has a role in 41% of cases of deliberate self-harm, 97% of public order offences, and every 7 hours in Ireland someone dies from an alcohol-related illness. You can read the frightening statistics here for yourself.

If you would like to cut down your alcohol intake, there are some useful tips here.

 

If you think we can help you with any of the topics mentioned above please do not hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 01-8461335 or 01-8038881, e-mail us on info@portmarnockgpclinic.ie and you can check us out on https://www.facebook.com/portmarnockgpclinic/ and https://www.twitter.com/gpportmarnock

Posted by Dr Niall Breen