We’ve never had so much health information at our fingertips. And, despite the stats that we’re spending more time indoors/sitting down than ever before, exercise and healthy living has never been so trendy.
But it’s clear that staying well is not a case of one-size-fits-all. Sometimes, it’s about finding what works best for you – and to help you do precisely that, on behalf of Healthspan (www.healthspan.co.uk), psychotherapist Sally Brown has devised this quiz.
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“You’re so well-informed about health that friends save themselves a trip to the doctors by ringing you instead,” says Brown. “You’re bang up-to-date with the statins debate and the latest thinking on Alzheimer’s.”
HEALTH STRENGTHS: You’re a proactive patient and know all the right questions to ask. You know that good health’s essential for a happy life, so it’s top of your priorities.
HEALTH WEAKNESSES: Your Dr Google habit can get out of hand and brings out the worrier in you. Sometimes you wonder if that bout of indigestion is really a heart attack, and that tension headache a sign of a brain tumour.
BALANCE IT: Try to limit your time on medical websites and resist the urge to self-diagnose every symptom. When you find yourself worrying, get outside for a walk instead, to clear your mind and get things into perspective – research shows regular exercisers have a more positive perception of their health. Sometimes, worrying about your health can be a form of anxiety, for which CBT can help; speak to your GP if you’re concerned. Boosting magnesium levels and B vitamins may help you feel calm.
“You genuinely love being active, whether it’s Zumba, Nordic walking or a Sunday morning cycle. You wouldn’t be without your Nutribullet and recently started spiralising,” says Brown. “The highlight of your week is your yoga class and even your treats are healthy, whether it’s a few squares of dark chocolate or a glass of organic red wine.
HEALTH STRENGTHS: You know a balanced diet, good sleep, regular exercise and keeping stress in check are the foundations of good health and you practise what you preach. People assume you’re at least a decade younger and you seem to have unlimited energy reserves.
HEALTH WEAKNESSES: You’re so convinced that a healthy lifestyle can cure everything that going to the GP feels like an admission of defeat.
BALANCE IT: Keep your appointments for essential health checks, and make sure you know your important risk numbers, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“You know you need to do more exercise and lose some weight. You’re going to get started – just as soon as you get back from holiday or past this busy period at work,” says Brown. “You can feel frustrated at times and wish it wasn’t so hard to change lifestyle habits.”
HEALTH STRENGTHS: You’re not one to worry about every little symptom, and you wouldn’t dream of boring anyone by talking about your health. Most of the time you’re blessed with good health and just keep going.
HEALTH WEAKNESSES: Looking after your health is so far down your list of priorities that you may be storing up problems for the future.
BALANCE IT: Healthy habits are the best antidote to procrastination, like taking your supplements at the same time every day. If you’re a morning person, try setting your alarm half an hour early to get out for a walk or run, to ensure you tick that exercise box before the demands of the day hijack your good intentions.
“You love new ideas and are the first to try out a new health or diet trend,” says Brown. “You’re willing to give anything a go, so you’re front of the queue to try out any new exercise trend.
HEALTH STRENGTHS: You never get stuck in a rut and are always up for trying new things. Your enthusiasm can be infectious and you can be a good influence on friends and family.
HEALTH WEAKNESSES: Your short attention span means you often give up before you’ve noticed the benefits of a new health habit. If your latest passion involves cutting out whole food groups, such as wheat or dairy, you could risk nutritional deficiencies.
BALANCE IT: Support your diet with a good multivitamin and fish oil supplement and always give supplements time to take effect – in most cases, you won’t notice benefits until you’ve taken them consistently for around 28 days.
“You’re a natural host and love entertaining friends and family. You thrive on good food and drink,” says Brown.
HEALTH STRENGTHS: Prioritising your social life could help you live longer, as studies show strong social connections are a key predictor of longevity.
HEALTH WEAKNESSES: The good life can take its toll on your waistline and your weekly alcohol intake also regularly exceeds the recommended healthy limits, and you may suffer from indigestion at times. As you get older, you may find your lifestyle takes its toll on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, or you may become pre-diabetic.
BALANCE IT: Combine your love of socialising with exercise, by joining a group activity like Nordic walking. Daily drinking can take its toll, so try to keep at least three consecutive days alcohol-free, and get your friends and family on board.
Your health philosophy is…
Your biggest health worry is…
You wake up feeling achy and a bit light-headed. Do you…
Your main source of health advice is…
If prescribed some pills from your doctor, you…