Prevent lifestyle diseases, halve health risks, live 12 years +

girl walks with dog on sunny riverside, living longer with good lifestyle.

Why change?

6 ways…

action plan?

1. Why change our lifestyle to cut health risks, and live 12 years more?

2. UK NHS says 6 lifestyle changes to enjoy better health for years more.

3. Plan health actions?

[Time to read 5 mins.]

1. Why change lifestyle to live for 12 years more?

human heart

Diseases of the heart and blood vessels (CVDs) are the UK’s biggest killers, causing more than 1 in 4 (27%) of all deaths in the UK; that’s more than 160,000 deaths each year – or one death every three minutes [BHF, 2021].

In the UK, CVDs are more common in people of South Asian or African or Caribbean backgrounds.

A Cambridge Uni study followed 14,500 people in England for 20 years and found that during middle age 150 minutes a week of good exercise, e.g. walking briskly, cuts your death risk by almost half [48].

2. Six lifestyle changes for better health – next steps.

A woman
well woman

The UK NHS says most deaths could be prevented by 6 simple lifestyle changes for better health.    A 30 years study in the USA, of 120,000 men and women, found that 50 year-olds who kept to five good lifestyle habits, cut dying from heart disease by a whopping 4 out of every 5 persons. And they cut their chances of dying from cancer by 2 out of every 3 people. These lifestyle habits added 14 extra years of life for women and 12 extra years for men [49]. These good habits are:

2.1. If you smoke, Stop sign, using a free NHS local stop smoking service. Stop smoking actions: Public Health England guidance, August 2018. Smoking one cigarette per day carries a risk of heart disease and stroke much greater than expected: around half that for people who smoke 20 per day. So quit instead of cutting down [45]. Within four to five years of quitting smoking, stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker [WHO].

2.2. Get to a more healthy weight with the NHS. Like to try their weight reduction guide?  Eat a healthy, balanced diet (8 simple NHS tips). A 2015 study found that the cost of bad diets in the UK was £19 billion a year, being almost 1 in 3 of people going into hospital and in 3 people going into care homes.

Runners feet

2.3. Keep active with regular exercise – this will cut by half your risks of getting heart diseases, a stroke, diabetes or cancer [9, 11]. As Nike puts it, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

And most exercise is free! Check the UK NHS, are you doing enough exercise for your age?  “Exercise is the miracle cure”, says the NHS. And it stops or delays you getting dementia later [43].

video camera Watch Sarah’s video of tips on getting active, from the charity Diabetes UK.

Choose a workout you prefer and would enjoy from the NHS Fitness Studio’s selection of online exercise videos. Increase them gradually. Decide on how many sessions per week, and put in your personal health plan.

Personal feedback, such as reminder messages to and from your mobile phone can keep you going, help you set goals, recognise your successes, listen to your views. e.g. Techradar best fitness trackers 2021, for a healthier lifestyle.

2.4. New advice on vitamin D from Public Health England (PHE, 2016)

The NHS confirms that research indicates that vitamin D is involved in the activation of the T cells of our immune systems:

“10 micrograms of vitamin D are needed daily to help you keep healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Most people get the vitamin D they need in spring and summer. But consider taking a supplement in autumn and winter (mid-September to April). Those who don’t get out in the sun, or always cover their skin when they do, or have darker skin, should take a vitamin D supplement throughout the year.”

2.5. Why does UK NHS say, “sitting for too long is bad for your health“? Even if you take plenty of exercise.

2.6. These links to the next steps will help you to: keep your weight down, blood pressure down and cholesterol down at healthy levels, improve the health of your heart & blood vessels, lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, manage any stress you are having.

pointing finger

3. So, Plan health actions. Decide what changes above you want to make, and decide your targets for them. Put them in your own draft personal healthcare plan, to discuss with your doctor.

page updated 7 September 2021.  ©2021 by social enterprise Diabetes-cutmyrisks.co.uk.™ Ltd.

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