Make a New Year resolution to look after your health

28 December 2017

Thousands of people in Havering will make a New Year’s resolution this January and GPs across the borough are urging everyone to think about making choices that will bring positive changes to their health.

Being more active, stopping smoking or drinking less can help to reduce your risk of developing serious long-term health problems such as diabetes and lung disease.

GPs at Havering Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have given you a head start and have named five top resolutions to make a healthier 2018 and a fresh start to the New Year:

Get active, try a new exercise or sport: We could all do with being a bit more active so try fitting exercise into your daily routine. Why not take the stairs instead of using a lift, try an exercise class, get off the bus or tube earlier than your usual stop to walk the rest of your journey, or take up a new sport. Get some ideas at www.havering.gov.uk

Get a check-up: If you are invited by your GP for a routine cancer check, don’t put the appointment off. It’s important to remember that these checks, in particular breast, cervical or prostate cancer screening, can help to find signs of cancer at an early stage, improving the chances of successful treatment.

If you’re aged 40-74, you’re entitled to a free NHS Health Check every five years. It’s designed to spot early signs of developing kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia or heart disease. As we get older, we have a higher risk of developing these conditions. The NHS Health Check helps find ways to lower this risk.

Stop smoking: About one in every two smokers dies of a smoking related disease. This January, join millions of others and give up smoking for good. Quitting smoking is the best thing you’ll ever do for your health. It may seem scary, but there’s lots of free support available to help you go smoke-free. You are four times more likely to stop smoking by using the free support provided by your local NHS Stop Smoking Service. Find out more at www.nhs.uk/smokefree or visit your local pharmacy for free advice on how to start the New Year smoke free.

Get support to feel better: If you are struggling to cope alone and want to feel more like yourself again this year, Talking Therapies offers a range of free and confidential specialist support. Whether your issues are caused by problems you face every day, or events that happened in your past, Talking Therapies can help: www.mytalkingtherapies.org.uk

Cut back on the amount you drink: Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink will not only make you feel healthier and help you sleep better: it will also save you money. To kick start this, why not join in with Dry January, the annual campaign which sees millions of people give up alcohol for the month. You can find more information and an alcohol impact calculator at: www.dryjanuary.org.uk.

To help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions, local GPs recommend setting realistic goals and finding ways to help you stay motivated.

Dr Atul Aggarwal, a local GP and chair of Havering CCG, said: “New Year is a great time to commit to making changes towards a healthier lifestyle. As GPs, we recommend reflecting on what you want to achieve and making a plan.

“You have more chance of succeeding if you set yourself realistic goals. If you need help or encouragement, the NHS Choices website has lots of expert advice on what you can do to stay healthy and kick-start your resolution.

“Introducing healthy habits and small changes to your lifestyle now could not only help you to look and feel better but can also make a big difference to your health in the long term.”