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Have a Healthy New Year!

As we approach the New Year, many people have New Years Resolutions or goals they want to set for the coming year. One of the very important priorities and goals you might set for yourself is to look after your overall health to ensure you are having a good quality of life. Please read through the tips on how to achieve a good overall health for next year! Make Healthy Food Choices: A healthy eating plan usually emphasises fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat milk and milk products. Eating a wide assortment of foods helps ensure that you get all of the disease fighting potential that foods offer. In addition this will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be present in a particular food. For higher calorie foods, portion control is the key. In recent years serving sizes have ballooned. In restaurants, choose an appetiser instead of an entree or split a dish with a friend. Don’t oder anything that has been ‘super-sized.’ When checking food labels, check the serving sizes, some relatively small products claim to contain more than one serving. At least half of your grains should be whole grains, such as whole wheat, barley and oats. Whole grains retain the bran and germs and nearly all the nutrients and fiber of the grain. The refined carbohydrates in white bread, regular pasta and most snack foods have little or no dietary fiber and have been stripped of many nutrients. And also try to limit foods with added sugar such as soft drinks and ‘junk food.’ Be Active: Try starting off with simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, going for a walk instead of watching a movie or riding your bike to work instead of driving. Start to then involve exercise as part of your weekly routine, even exercising twice a week will make a big improvement to your fitness level and overall health. Getting motivated to workout can be difficult, try exercising with a friend or partner to make it more sociable, by doing this you will motivate each other to keep going. Sign up to group classes or contact a personal trainer, it can sometimes be a more costly solution compared to joining a gym in the long run but by joining it will guarantee your time will be used 100% and receive a more strict workout session. Group classes and personal trainers are usually high energy and positive sessions that will boost your confidence and leave you with a happier persona. Be Smoke Free: If you use tobacco, there are compelling reasons for you to quit and the rewards of quitting are tremendous. You will actually experience the benefits of not using tobacco within 20 minutes of quitting. Quitting tobacco will improve your health, finances, self esteem and your everyday life immediately and over the long term. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes overall health. It causes heart disease, stroke, lung disease such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, osteoporosis and cataracts. In 2014/2015 one in seven Australians aged 15 and over smoked daily, with an additional 2% smoking irregularly. This represents 2.5 million Australians who smoke daily and 200,000 smoking irregularly. Quitting smoking can be challenging and for some people, require help from medical professionals. Your doctor will go through an action plan on how to quit and give any tips and advice to their patients. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep problems can occur across all age groups, it impacts between 33-45% of Australian adults. If you are one of these people who struggle with sleeping, it is important to try things that will improve your chances at getting a good nights sleep. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s block and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. Practice a relaxing bedtime activity conducted away from bright lights, it will help you separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps especially in the afternoon, Power napping may help you get through the day but if you can’y fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short naps may help. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Try to do some exercise at any time of day but as long as it isn’t at the expense of your sleep. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and heavy meals in the evening as they can disrupt sleep. Eating big or very spicy meals cause cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. Try avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry. Wind down with a calming activity such as reading about an hour prior to going to bed. For some people using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, due to the particular type of light from the screens of these devices it activates the brain. If you are still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your GP and ask about seeing a sleep specialist.

Have a Health Check Up: What better way to start your new year than to finally make that appointment with your GP for a health check up. A health check up is an examination of your current state of health carried out by your doctor. From the moment everyone is born and even before, we undergo a variety of tests to ensure we are on the right track to good health. As we get older, many of us are more vulnerable to illness. In order to reduce this risk, a number of health checks or screening tests are recommended at different stages of our lives. The aim of a health check is to help find, prevent or lessen the effect of health issues. Having a regular doctor or practice has several advantages. Most importantly, you will build a relationship over time and are more likely to feel comfortable talking openly about it. Your doctor will also get to know you and understand your health needs and concerns. A health check generally involves: updating your medical history and examining your health issues performing tests if required a follow up of any problems identified advice and information on how to improve your health. Looking after your health is so important. If you would like to book in to see your doctor for any of these concerns please call Queensgate Medical Centre on 9456 1811 or book via our website

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