How healthy is your lifestyle? It could have an impact on your life expectancy. New advice from NHS England says that people should cut back on the amount of salt, sugar, alcohol and fat in their diets in order to boost life expectancy by five years. As the government now spends ten times more money on treating disease than preventing it, it’s now time for people to focus on improving their health to create an overall healthier nation. Boosting life expectancy should be a priority, so what can you do to improve yours?
About the NHS’ prevention plan
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has announced his long-term aim to prevent illness, and wants to shift the focus of the NHS away from treating illness to preventing it. This will be achieved through a combination of a change in the way resources are prioritised as well as a culture shift amongst the population.
Life expectancy in the UK is currently 82.9 years for women, and 79.2 for men, and Mr Hancock hopes people will enjoy five more years of healthy, independent living. Through making better life choices, people can expect to live healthier and longer lives. As part of his plans, Mr Hancock also wishes to:
- Halve childhood obesity rates by 2030
- Increase “social prescribing” in a bid to combat loneliness by prescribing community activities
- Achieve a 75% rate for diagnosing cancers at stages one and two by 2028
- Make better use of technology to predict’ illnesses and provide targeted advice
Ways of boosting life expectancy
There are many ways you can boost your life expectancy, as well as make some positive lifestyle changes that will boost your current health. Self care is essential for boosting life expectancy and you can start by making small, but significant changes. Some of the things you can do include:
- Improving your diet. Processed foods might be convenient, but a healthy diet is important for many reasons. There’s a common misconception that healthy eating is more expensive than buying ready meals or takeaways, but there are a lot of ideas you can try to eat well for less.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can help burn excess calories to keep weight down, while improving your cardiovascular fitness. Exercise will also make your muscles strong and improve flexibility to help you stay mobile as you age.
- Walk more. Walking is an easy form of exercise that can also help the environment. Why not try walking to work a couple of times a week or going for a walk after dinner to help you get some fresh air and get some regular exercise in?
- Don’t smoke. Smoking could affect your life expectancy, and can be responsible for all sorts of illnesses and diseases. Giving up smoking now could help you improve your life expectancy as well as reduce your risk of developing cancer.
- Ease up on the alcohol. Drinking excessively can also impact your health, both now and in the long-term. Cutting down on your drinking could help your waistline and help you stay healthy, while also saving you money.
- Sleep. Sleep is an important part of both your mental and physical health. Aim to get 6-8 hours a night to help give your body and mind the rest they need. A lack of sleep can have a number of mental and physical consequences, so make sure you adjust your sleeping pattern to help you get your rest.
While life expectancy has increased over the years, the rate of growth is beginning to slow, which is largely caused by lifestyle choices and the various preventable illnesses suffered by the nation. Take positive steps for your health by looking at ways you can turn things around, both now and in the future.