Simple steps with a big impact on your health in 2016

If you consider just how many calories we consumed over the last month and that the average Christmas lunch alone is 7,000 calories, there is good reason to join the zeitgeist and get healthy in 2016. Here are some tips from the experts at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital who hope to make it easier for you.

As Cristopher Kellet, MSc, Physiotherapy Manager at Progress, The Cambridge Centre for Health and Performance explains: “It’s not just about January, it is more about introducing lifestyle changes for the whole year.”

  wineLove your liver

Mr Raaj Praseedom is a consultant Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary and transplant surgeon (a liver specialist) at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital. He explains:  “Though ‘dry January’ is a good idea, moderation throughout the year is a better one. The liver can repair itself but sadly, I am seeing more patients than ever before suffering with fatty liver disease. It is often a result of poor diet, weight gain and alcohol consumption. More importantly, this is a precursor to advanced liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver which is irreversible.  It is vital people look after themselves and do not let their livers get to this stage.”

Here are Mr Praseedom’s tips for 2016:

  • Try to have at least one dry week a month or at the very least, three consecutive days in the week
  • Reduce the amount of sugar and carbohydrates you consume. It indirectly damages your liver.
  • Know what a unit of alcohol looks like – half a bottle of wine a night may seem acceptable to you but it is not to your liver
  • Binge eating – do you know what it does to your liver? Again, moderation is best.
  • Get active and do not sit still for too long. Instead of settling in front of the television every evening, go for a brisk walk and take your family with you.

dancing Dancing – strictly the best exercise

 The so-called “Strictly Effect” has led to a surge in interest in dance. According to NHS UK, dance is the UK’s fastest growing art form, with more than 4.8 million[1] people regularly attending community dance groups each year in England alone.

Cristopher Kellet, MSc, Physiotherapy Manager at Progress, explains how to avoid injury and potential embarrassment:

“It’s true that inexperienced dancers, or those returning to dance after years, may risk minor problems such as lower limb joint and soft-tissue injuries, that is, sprains and strains. There are often contributing factors, for example: not warming up properly, attempting movements that the body has not been prepared for, poor aerobic fitness or inappropriate footwear.”

So, if you are heading towards a class this month, follow these tips from Cristopher to reap the benefits of dance and not an embarrassing injury:

  • Risks – don’t put yourself at risk of common injuries, especially when attempting difficult moves for which you don’t have the mobility, strength or aerobic capacity.
  • Sleep – make sure that you are not fatigued when undertaking any form of exercise.
  • Hydration – make sure that you are adequately hydrated rather than inebriated.  As we get older we often drink less but it’s a mistake that affects our physiology, increases our risk of injury and exposes us to potential urinary tract infections.  If continence is an issue there are many ways that this can be managed; don’t suffer in silence.
  • Nutrition: take along some snacks if food isn’t provided and take the opportunity to maintain/build muscle mass by eating afterwards.

Cristopher adds: “There is a large amount of research on the benefits of dance, so don’t hold back in 2016.”

Mind your gutgut

Dr Stephen Middleton, is a consultant gastroenterologist and expert in inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel disease. He states: “About one fifth of the UK public suffer from IBS at some stage in their life and it accounts for 12 per cent of visits to the GP. The good news is that you can repair your gut from the stresses and strain incurred during the seasonal over indulgence in December.”

To avoid stomach complaints including indigestion, constipation, cramps, diarrhoea, bloating and wind, Dr Middleton has the following advice:

  • Avoid stress and try to eat a balanced diet so your gut does not go into spasm.
  • Think quality not quantity for digestive tranquillity. Very large meals tend to put a strain on most parts of the digestive tract.
  • Don’t eat light at night. Late eating encourages heartburn and can give rise to more IBS symptoms the next morning.
  • Dried fruit and nuts bloat your gut if you are prone to IBS, so they are best taken in moderation.

 

 

[1] http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-dancing.aspx

 

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