Keeping fit and healthy – it’s a goal everyone aims for, but even with the very best of intentions our busy lives can leave us struggling to make time. We want to cut down on the food we know we shouldn’t eat, but end up having just one more piece of calorie-loaded cake.
We try to cut down on the drinking, but our colleagues are going out for an after-work drink, and what harm would a glass of wine do? And when it comes to a choice between breaking into a sweat at the gym or chilling on the sofa in front of our favourite soap, sometimes the decision is just too easy!
But with One You, the ground-breaking campaign organised by Public Health England and supported by Kent County Council, you’ll have the help and advice you need to make some real changes to your health. And once you’ve made the first habit change, the next one will be easier, and the one after that easier still. Keep at it, and before you know it, you’ll be feeling better as your health starts to improve.
The campaign aims to encourage adults to aim for a 'healthier you', particularly those in middle age, because even though life expectancy in the UK is at record highs, many people spend their retirement years suffering from illness. The good news is that it’s never too late to start improving your health. Start taking small steps now, and they could add up to a huge difference later on.
Bad habits that become routine, like eating too much fast food, drinking more than is good for us, smoking and not taking any exercise, are responsible for around 40% of all deaths in England, and cost the NHS more than £11 billion a year.
'We want people to put themselves first and do something about their own health before it’s too late'
In Kent, around 15% of the population smokes, over 65% are overweight, and figures show that alcohol-related hospital admissions increased by 25% in five years.
But as Andrew Scott-Clark, KCC’s Director of Public Health explains, “The One You Kent campaign reminds us that it’s never too late to improve our health – making small lifestyle changes such as eating well, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking or being more active can double our chances of being healthy at 70 and beyond. We want people to put themselves first and do something about their own health before it’s too late.”
The One You Kentwebsite is packed with ideas, guidance and support on a wide range of health and fitness topics. In addition to advice about cutting back on the things that can harm our health, there are links to a number of online tools and assessments, and suggestions on how to keep both mind and body active.
For example, did you know that taking a walk every day can help prevent you from getting depression, anxiety and other mental health problems?
Or that staying active may help you avoid some of the conditions that could impact on the quality of your later life, including dementia and osteoarthritis?
'A good night’s sleep can boost your immune system and help you fight illness'
And that getting a good night’s sleep can boost your immune system and help you fight illness?
The site also features links to the One You smartphone apps. Motivating, practical and fun, they’re designed to help you keep track of your progress, encourage you to keep going and inspire you to reach your goals.
For example, the Active 10 Walking Tracker will motivate you to take a brisk 10 minute walk every day, while the One You Drinks Tracker will help you keep an eye on the booze and take control of your consumption.
And if you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to meal times, the tasty One You Easy Meals app has some delicious ideas for breakfast, lunch, evening meals and even pudding!
The site also shows you where you can get more help if you feel you need some extra support to get things moving in the right direction. You can sign up for free online support and get detailed information about services in your area – to help you lose weight, quit smoking, or be more active, for example. Or you can just enter your postcode to get a list of services near you.
You can also find out how to get an NHS Health Check (free for people between 40 and 74), and get access to support from One You advisors to help you make the small changes that can make a big difference. Just enter your postcode to find one near you.
Angela Baker, Deputy Director, Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England South East, said, "The scale of the One You campaign is unprecedented, and includes ground-breaking partnerships with public sector and commercial enterprises. This will see One You in every community, on every high street, in local health services, on websites and in social media. We want everyone across the country to know that it is never too late to get your health back on track."
The free personalised How Are You? online quiz is a great way to take your first step. You’ll find a link for it at www.oneyoukent.org.uk. Totally confidential and unbiased, it’s designed to point you in the right direction, and set you on the road to a healthier you. With 2018 on the horizon, what better time to commit to the idea of a ‘new year, new you’?