Should we be prioritising our health? Of course!

By 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:

1)     The car is due for a service
2)     It’s the council green pick up next weekend
3)     That leak in the roof keeps getting bigger
4)     Little Jimmy will need braces soon
…..
564) 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?

There are times when people actually feel guilty for prioritising their health. We even put physio into the ‘luxury’ category. Anyone who has a deep tissue massage from (Mount Lawley physio) Matt Thomas knows that it is not a relaxing 20mins of down time!

There a constant battle to fight a vicious cycle of being overworked and beating the clock on a daily basis. We try to conquer this with quick fixes and fast food. Poor eating decisions then fuel stress, leading to high blood pressure, the increased release of coritsol (stress hormone), poor sleep and then so goes the downward spiral.

We push our health to one side and prioritise everything else. We spend more time and money on the car, house, even our pets. But if we don’t look after ourselves, who will then worry about the car, house and beloved family cat.

It takes the same amount of time to drink a can of soft drink as it does a glass of water. It takes the same amount of time to order a salad as it does a burger.  A shift in priorities will lead to a shift in quality of lifestyle.

If you eat well and exercise you will feel better. You’ll in turn have more energy and be more productive. This will improve sleep and the flow of oxygentated blood, releasing endorphins that reduce stress and lead to an improved feeling of well being.

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:

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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. Obesity (not including overweight categories) accounts for ~8% of the total health burden in Australia.

5) Get a move on
Insufficient moderate/vigorous physical activity accounts for ~7% of the total health burden in Australia. 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 cardiometabolic risk independent of moderate/vigorous physical activity habits.  This means that a sedentary office worker not only needs a daily moderate/vigorous activity such as a morning run, but also needs to reduce overall sitting time and to break up sustained periods of sitting.

It seems inconvenient to be healthy today, but it will be more inconvenient to be unhealthy tomorrow.

Value yourself and prioritise your health.

Come see us at Life Ready Physio if you’re ready to make the shift.

Note: Caitlin Thorn is our newest physio at our Mount Lawley/Inglewood clinic. We warmly welcome her to the Life Ready Physio family!