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How to join the 7% of healthy Australians

by CBHS Corporate Health | Apr 26, 2018
Achieving health

An extensive study performed by Deakin University showed that shockingly low numbers of Australians were following ‘good’ levels of healthy living.

The study set out to give its 4000+ participants a Health Behaviour Score, measuring their:

  1. Smoking habits
  2. Diet
  3. Levels of physical activity
  4. Sedentary behaviours
  5. Sleep

7% of participants scored a perfect 5, 30% scoring 3 or higher, leaving the majority scoring 0, 1 or 2.

Those scoring 3, 4 and 5 were less likely to have hypertension, or be overweight or obese, correlating with their non-smoking, diet quality and physical activity.

How you can be healthier

Quit smoking

As a highly addictive and habitual activity, quitting can be difficult, but never impossible.

Tips to quit smoking:

  1. Go cold turkey - the science suggests that giving up smoking entirely has the best results
  2. Have a strategy – knowing when your cravings will hit hardest, and having a plan to manage them, will give you a better chance of quitting for good
  3. Find substitutes – creating a new, healthy habit like running, drinking tea or eating fruit and veges, can eventually replace the time usually spent smoking

Eat right

Unhealthy eating choices are usually made due to convenience or accessibility, however, there are some simple ways to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients from the best foods:

Tips to eating better:

  1. Increase the veges in your diet – vegetables are usually inexpensive, and can be eaten as a snack, full meals, cooked or raw. Certain vegetables, like mushrooms and eggplant, can provide a substitute for some of the meat in a regular diet
  2. Snack on fruit and raw nuts – dump the chips and chocolates and dig into a banana or apple instead. They can provide that sustainable sugar rush that your average candy can’t hope to match
  3. Ditch the processed foods – packaged foods will often contain high levels of salt and sugar that you’re able to avoid when making your own meals

Exercise every day

Exercise can improve your mental health, help you lose weight and prevent accidents in your later years.

Tips for every day exercise:

  1. Find a workout you enjoy – whether it’s a sport, leisurely laps, bike-riding, hiking, running, or anything else that tests your muscles, lungs and heart, it’s important that you’re motivated to do it and keep doing it
  2. Make it manageable – going too hard too early might result in injury, which can be detrimental to motivation or make you anxious to work out again. Knowing your limits and gradually pushing them provides the best long-term results
  3. See a physio – a physio will be able to look at your individual circumstances and suggest exercises that can help you with your specific issues and goals

Get moving

Sitting down for long periods can have a detrimental affect on your health, so make sure your day is filled with movement!

Tips for staying active:

  1. Get up from your desk – go for a walk every hour, no question. Stretching your legs in the sun can have great benefits for both your physical and mental health
  2. Use your lunch break effectively – working out, or going for a run during your lunch break can help you reach the recommended 150 minutes of exercise every week
  3. Work activity into your leisure time – take up a physical activity in the place of your sedentary behaviours, like watching tv

Make sleeping a priority

Sleeping isn’t as easy as it seems. More than closing your eyes and hoping to drift off, you have to form healthy sleeping habits which can get you between 7-9 hours sleep each night.

Tips for better sleeping:

  1. Make your room dark – humans have evolved to sleep during the night, so make sure your room is as dark as possible
  2. Turn off your devices – stimulating your brain with a bright screen and information is likely to keep you awake for longer
  3. Use your room for sleeping – the stronger the association you have between your bed and room with sleeping, the more likely you are to fall asleep in it. Think about using your living room or another area for entertainment