The theme of Carers Week 2018 is ‘Healthy and Connected’.  Here you’ll find some useful information from the West Sussex Wellbeing team about things like smoking, drinking and a healthy diet.  For more information head to the West Sussex Wellbeing website.

Being active every day helps you stay healthy. It’s easy to move more and doing something is better than nothing. Start small and build up gradually. Every 10 minutes of activity you do counts.

Incorporating physical activity into everyday life makes it easier to maintain. Active travel (e.g. walking, cycling) is a good way of doing this.

It’s recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. This can be broken down into five, 30 minute sessions of aerobic activity like cycling, swimming, or fast walking.

Moderate activity is when:

Your heartrate and breathing are noticeably increased, but you are still able to hold a conversation

You may sweat

You can talk, but can’t sing

Being active is good for your health, body and mind. It decreases the risk of getting heart disease, some types of cancer, depression, anxiety, dementia, and helps you sleep and manage stress better.

Being active is not only for those who need to lose weight.

You should minimise the amount of time you spend sitting down for long periods, and you are never too old to start being physically active.

Trying to be active as a family can make it more fun.

Fruit and vegetables are part of balanced diet, and help us stay healthy. It’s recommended to eat at least five portions of different fruit and vegetables per day. Try to eat as many different colours of fruit and vegetables that you can.

Eating healthily is great for your body and your wallet and doesn’t have to cost more. Preparing and cooking your own meals is generally cheaper than takeaways or ready meals and it’s easier to control what goes in to your meal, so can be healthier.

Check food labels when shopping to help you make healthier choices. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, sugar and salt.

Drink plenty of water daily, aiming for around 1.5 – 2 litres per day.

Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you are getting a balanced diet and your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.

Eating breakfast will give you the energy you need for the day ahead, and you are less likely to eat sugary snacks mid-morning.

Every cigarette smoked causes harm to the body and can cause serious health conditions including cancer, stroke and heart disease.

It’s never too late to stop smoking and there is support available. You are four times more likely to quit successfully with help from a trained stop smoking advisor compared to alone.

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health.

No matter how long you have smoked for, quitting can produce health benefits within 8 hours.

Stop smoking aids can help reduce nicotine cravings and improve your chances of successfully quitting. Vaping (using e-cigarettes) is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.

Smoking is the single most modifiable risk factor in pregnancy. No matter what stage you are at in pregnancy, it’s never too late to stop.

Children are strongly influenced by adult role models. Over 80% of school age people who smoke report having a family member who smokes.

Pets can also be harmed by second hand smoke.

It’s easy to let drinking sneak up on you and you may be drinking more alcohol than you realise.

Alcohol causes more than 60 medical conditions, including breast cancer, cancers of the mouth, throat stomach and liver, heart disease, stroke, pancreatitis, and depression.

Reduce your risks by knowing how much you are drinking and drinking within the recommended ‘lower risk’ guidelines.

Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.

If you’re pregnant, the safest option is not to drink at all.

Wine, beer, cider and spirits are made from natural starch and sugar, which is why alcohol is so calorific. Alcohol contains seven calories per gram, which is almost as much as pure fat. Regularly drinking more than is recommended can have a big impact on your waistline.

Cutting down drinking reduces the risks to your health, and also gives you more energy, makes you feel better in the mornings, and helps you lose weight, as well as reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Eat the right number of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. To lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you use. Reducing sugary and fatty foods can help you do this.

A safe and healthy weight loss is around 0.5kg – 1kg per week (between 1-2lb).

Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy, balanced diet can improve both physical health and emotional wellbeing.

Being overweight increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It puts additional pressure on your joints and results in you being less mobile.

Your waist measurement and BMI can be indicators that you need to lose weight. If your waist is over 37 inches (male) or 32 inches (female) you are at increased risk, and over 40 inches (male) or 35 inches (female) you are at severe risk of weight related health conditions (e.g. heart disease and type 2 diabetes).

Being overweight can impact negatively on your self-esteem and confidence.