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Start prioritising your health in five steps

Caitlin Thorn

It seems so obvious, but so many of us don’t prioritise our health. In fact, it’s not until something is wrong that our health is usually even a consideration.

But the question is – why do we neglect out bodies until we hit crisis point? And should our priority be maintaining a healthy body higher on our never ending to-do lists rather than taking good health for granted?

For all the parents out there, I’m not talking about the health of your kids, because I can guarantee that they come in as a shining #1. I’m talking about you!

Parents are notorious for continually prioritising their own well being last. An example of the most important things to maintain in a household may look a little like this:

  • The car is due for a service
  • It’s the council green pick up next weekend
  • That leak in the roof keeps getting bigger
  • Little Jimmy will need braces soon
  • That niggling pain in my neck and shoulders…

Consider for a minute, if you could only have one car for your entire lifetime. Would you be taking that car off road, ignoring the oil light and running 100,000kms over the service date? I would hazard to think probably not.

Now consider how many bodies will you have in a lifetime? Doesn’t this lead to perhaps we should be caring for ourselves better and shifting our priorities?

Doesn’t it make sense that perhaps we should prioritise the care and maintenance of our one body so that it does indeed last us a lifetime. Here are 5 easy ways to maintain a healthy body:

Butt out

Tobacco is smoked by only 19% of Australian adults, but this and the legacy of prior higher rates means it accounts for ~8% of the total health burden in Australia. Tobacco smoke accounts to 1 in 3 cancer related deaths.

You booze, you lose

Alcohol is consumed by 41% of Australian adults each week and 83% in the past year, with 15% reporting consumption at risky levels. The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines recommend that young people avoid alcohol for as long as possible and adults consume no more than two standard drinks on any day.

Fruit up

Australian guidelines recommend two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables per day for adults and three serves of fruit and four serves of vegetables for adolescents. It has been shown that 8% of primary school children consume insufficient fruit, rising to 76% of adolescents. Low fruit and vegetable consumption accounts for ~2% of the total health burden in Australia.

Why weight?

Around two-thirds of Australian adults are overweight, including one-quarter who are considered obese. The proportion of overweight children has doubled in the past 25 years. Australian guidelines recommend that healthy adults maintain a BMI <25 and a waist circumference <80cm for women and <94cm for men.

Get a move on

National guidelines recommend adults accumulate 30 mins or more of moderate activity on most, preferably all days, along with some vigorous activity. Evidence has shown that total accumulated sedentary behaviour, particularly uninterrupted sustained periods of sitting, increase cardio-metabolic risk independent of moderate/vigorous physical activity habits.

It may seem inconvenient to be healthy today, but it will be more inconvenient to be unhealthy tomorrow. Value yourself and prioritise your health.

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