Seven Tips To Boost Your Health In 2021

1.2020 has been one hell of a year so now it’s time to take stock and make some positive changes for 2021 with our resident GP, Dr Jennifer GrantStart with your mental health Take time to ask yourself — are you happy? If not, try to figure out why and make that change. Sometimes it’s basic reasons like ‘I wish I could go out and visit friends or arrange a party’. Those good times are on the horizon. Try not to be materialistic.

2. Address your poor sleep hygiene
Some people are lucky and sleep like a baby. A lot of people suffer with initial insomnia (difficulty getting off to sleep), early morning waking (difficulty staying asleep) or both. We are complex beings and everything we do, and the time of the day we choose to do it, affects our ability to get good sleep. The fitness tracker watches often have accurate sleep analysis components that give a good indication of how good/bad your sleep quality is. The best suggestion is to start a four-week course of CBTi (cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia).

It’s important that we stay on top of our physical and mental health.jpg

3. Know your blood pressure
Anyone aged over 20 needs to make sure they have normal blood pressure. There’s no excuse for not buying a digital home BP monitor or borrowing your parent’s one to check your BP. The standard normal is 120/80 mmHg. If you are lower, that’s great because it tends to creep up with age. Once you don’t suffer episodes of syncope (collapse) or frequent pre-syncope (feeling like you are about to pass out). Feeling a little light-headed due to postural changes (going from sitting/lying to standing) that lasts only a few seconds is normal if you have low BP. On the opposite end of the spectrum, having high blood pressure, defined as above 135/85 mmHg is very dangerous. It is the number one risk factor for stroke and heart attack and should be taken seriously. Arrange a 24-hour BP monitor with the nurse in your GP practice and follow up with your GP to discuss results.

4. Ever worried about palpitations?
If you suffer frequent episodes of a sensation of your heart beating too fast or thumping away in your chest, you should discuss this with your GP. Firstly, consider how good are you at hydrating yourself on a daily basis. Everyone should drink 1.5-2 litres (or more particularly if exercising) of water per day. Secondly, don’t overdo the caffeine or alcohol. If you drink coffee, have the equivalent of two double espressos per day and switch to decaf teabags. Stick to the recommended 14 units of alcohol per week and aim for three consecutive alcohol-free days.

5. Check your cholesterol profile every year
That means attending a nurse in a GP practice for a routine set of bloods. Your kidney, liver, thyroid function and iron stores will most likely be included. The PSA (prostate specific antigen), your risk factor for the development of prostate cancer (and other benign prostate conditions) will be added for men over 40 years old. Back to cholesterol, though, know what your HDL cardioprotective cholesterol is (the higher the better) and take a high dose omega-3 supplement daily if it’s low. If your LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol is above 2.6 mmol/L then you need to look at making dietary and lifestyle changes. Obviously, by increasing your weekly level of exercise, the more you flip the balance (increase the HDL and reduce the LDL).

Dr. jennifer Grant

6. Exercise in moderation, respecting your age, strengths and weaknesses
If it’s just brisk walking you enjoy then aim for at least 30 minutes up to five days per week. Equally beneficial is a 30-minute run up to three days per week. For anyone at risk of high blood pressure or with elevated LDL cholesterol, consider increasing the intensity of your training for 40 minutes up to four days per week.

7. Find time to be kind to yourself

Take that 20-minute break to deflate and relax as you have earned it. We all have regrets in life but don’t look back. You have the ability to change your future. Work on that.

(Source – Irish Independent – Health, Living & Wellbeing – Dr. Jennifer Grant – 11/01/2021)

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Rural Enterprise Skillnet
Rural Enterprise Skillnet

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