Let's Talk About: Lifestyle Choices

Updated: Mar 11

A lot of health conditions today, including bowel cancer, can largely be attributed to “lifestyle choices”. That’s a pretty broad statement, and one you’ve probably heard all the time. But what does that actually mean? What are lifestyle choices? And what can you do about it?


Lifestyle choices refers to the parts of our lives that we can change. Most people would assume this just refers to food and exercise, but it does actually mean a lot more. It can also relate to smoking, alcohol, sleep habits, mental wellbeing and safe sex. Basically, things we have some level of control over.


So why should we be paying attention to all of these things then? There are numerous benefits to being more pro-active with what we’re doing with our bodies, especially in the long-term. Not only does it greatly lower the risk of cancer (including bowel cancer), but it also a number of other health conditions, and generally improving our lives. CRUK says 4 in 10 cancers can be prevented. Furthermore, studies have shown that it can also help us to “feel better”. Sounds great right? But it just takes some effort now, it doesn’t need to be giant steps to start with. Small changes now can go a long way.


Different coloured foods incur different benefits

We’ve some really easy changes, small things you can do listed below;


-More Fruit and Veg. No doubt everyone has heard of the 5-a-day, but how many of us actually do it? It can be as simple as sticking in an extra vegetable in our cooking, or reaching for a banana instead of a biscuit.


-Eating a rainbow. Vary your food intake throughout the day. The easiest way to keep track of this is to eat by colour, as each colour means different benefits. Tomatoes, carrots, bananas, spinach, cabbage and blueberries are all different colours, and shouldn’t be too hard to eat or cook with over the course of a day.


-Carrying a bottle of water. It’s common for people to mistake thirst for hunger, so take a swig of water instead of immediately grabbing a snack. Make sure to fill up a bottle of water every day, and stay hydrated, especially as the days get hotter.


-Do you know the recommended daily amount of exercise for an adult? It's 30 minutes, and it can be difficult to find that much time just to exercise. But smaller things such as taking the stairs, going for a walk on lunch breaks, or standing while talking on the phone can get you on your way.


-Watch what we drink. Alcohol can contain a lot of calories, and is also associated with a number of health conditions. It’s important to stick to the guidelines of 14 units a week.


How many units are in each drink?

Of course making these changes to how we live can never guarantee anything, but being aware and acting on it, can greatly reduce the chance of something happening.

Telephone 

National Bowel Screening Hub Helpline: 0800 707 6060 to order a home-test kit, book an appointment, and general inquiries about bowel screening. Open 9am to 5pm.

St. Mark's Bowel Screening Health Promotion: 020 8869 3376 to speak to the Health Promotion team to arrange a talk, training session or raise awareness
 

St Mark's Hospital website

www.stmarkshospital.nhs.uk

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Harrow HA1 3UJ

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