Take control of your own health and well-being by “knowing your numbers”. What do we mean by this? Keeping track of various health measurements can give you an indication of how healthy you are and how you might be in the future. Some numbers are things that you will need to get from your GP or pharmacy but most are things you can measure or work out for yourself.
Numbers you might want to track include:
- TV hours – sitting down for long periods of time is now known to be unhealthy. You might want to monitor how many hours you sit and watch TV.
- Exercise minutes – keep track of the number of minutes each day you are active. The Government recommendations are at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity e.g. cycling or brisk walking plus doing strength exercise 2+ days per week that work all the major muscle groups (legs, arms, back, chest, shoulders and abdomen).
- Alcohol units – the recommended maximum weekly units of alcohol for both men and women is 14 units. It is better to spread these across the week rather than have them in one night. The Drinkaware website has lots of useful facts about the effects of alcohol on health and how many units are in different types of drink. Bottles and cans also carry unit information. Don’t forget that alcoholic drinks also contain calories so that might be impacting your weight. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/
- Calories – the recommended number of calories to consume each day are 2500 for the average man and 2000 for the average woman. NHS Choices has a useful calorie checker and food packages will also contain calorie information. Remember, you might not be average so get to know how many calories you personally need.
- Waist measurement – your health is at risk if your waist measurement is over 94cm (37 inches) for a man and 80cm (31.5 inches) for a woman. More information can be found here: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/About_us/News_Landing_Page/Waist-size-linked-to-Type-2-diabetes-risk–regardless-of-BMI/
- Weight/BMI – weigh yourself and then use an online BMI calculator such as the NHS Choices one to calculate your BMI. A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. http://www.nhs.uk/tools/pages/healthyweightcalculator.aspx
- Cholesterol – ask at your GP practice as this is a blood test. NHS Health Checks are offered from 40-74 years old. You will receive a letter from you GP or local authority inviting you to one. http://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/
- Blood pressure (BP) – you can use a home monitor (available in most pharmacies), ask a Health Trainer to take it at one of our library drop-ins or get it checked at your GP practice.
If you would like support in becoming more physically active, improving your diet, stopping or reducing smoking and reducing your alcohol intake then why book an appointment with a Health Trainer? Looking at these behaviours and changing them can support you with self-confidence and motivation. Call 0300 003 4566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or book a free session.