In an age where we are more health conscious than ever before, we’re all beginning to realise that a holistic approach to our overall wellbeing is far better than fits and starts of fad diets and unrealistic expectations of being in the gym at 7am every weekday morning. Looking after yourself is a life-long job and it has to be manageable… well, for life!
This means that how we train, eat and relax is as individual as we are and what works for one person (that young single guy or gal who DOES make the gym every day at 7am) may not work for the next (a busy working parent). Over time we find what fits with our lifestyle, our personal goals and the things we just don’t want to compromise on (I like pizza, therefore I’ll squeeze in another half hour session somewhere!).
The big question is… How do you know it’s all working? Looking in the mirror (honestly) is a sure fire way of knowing if your weight is sensible, running up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing will let you know the cardio is doing its job and signing up to a marathon knowing you’ll see the finish line for sure is a great indication that you’re doing well.
There are other factors that are a bit more invisible though and these can be affected by diet, lack of exercise, stress levels and family history.
Cholesterol levels and glucose levels are two indicators that will give you a deeper insight into your overall health. You’ll have heard of both I’m sure, but unless you’re ill or over a certain age it’s unlikely your levels have been tested.
St John’s Shopping Centre
Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd January
10am – 4pm both days
Simply go along to St John’s Shopping Centre on either day to be given a time
Costs £7 (Cholesterol, Glucose, Blood Pressure)
(From Friday 22nd January)
Bell’s Sports Centre
Mondays between 10 am - 11am
Tuesdays between 2 pm - 3 pm
Fridays between 12.30pm - 1.30pm
Cost £7.00 (For Cholesterol, Glucose)
The test carried out by our wellbeing team is the capillary (pinprick) test and it requires just a small drop of blood, taken from your finger. The blood is placed on a strip that is inserted into a calibrated device and the result is available within a few minutes. This kind of test is used for screening purposes in NHS Health Checks and gives good overall results that indicate how healthy your cholesterol and glucose levels are.
Should they find abnormal levels in either in your blood test it is then recommended that you book an appointment with your GP who will offer a more detailed analysis via a more sophisticated test.
So why are these tests important, and what do the results mean?
Over half of all UK adults have raised cholesterol and the only way you’ll know if you’re one of them is to have the test. The experts recommend that everyone over 40 should have a test at least once every two or three years but if you’re in a high risk category (obesity, family history, high stress lifestyle) then you should be tested pre-forty and more regularly.
Please note: Our advice is generic. There will be special instances where your doctor advises you or your children to be tested outwith these broad guidelines.
Raised cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular problems and puts you at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke. In the UK the government recommends that healthy adults should have a total cholesterol level below 5 (measured as mmol/L). Two out of three adults have a total cholesterol level of 5 or above, and the average cholesterol level is about 5.7.
A blood glucose test measures the amount of a sugar called glucose in the sample of your blood. Glucose is a major source of energy for most cells of the body, including brain cells.
Glucose is naturally occurring in the body and is produced from the carbohydrates found in fruit, cereal, bread, pasta, and rice. The hormone insulin helps control blood glucose levels and illnesses such as diabetes can prevent this from happening properly.
Blood Glucose levels
Medical problems that can also cause a higher-than-normal blood glucose level, including:
A lower-than-normal blood glucose level hypoglycaemia due to:
Reduce Your Risk of Both
If you find yourself part of the ‘undesirable’ range in either test you’ll be pleased to know that in most cases, you can take steps to reduce your risks through simple lifestyle changes. Eating more healthily, including increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and fibre rich wholefoods, as well as eating at least five portions of fruit and veg each day will definitely help. You should also cut back on unhealthy fats and reduce your salt and sugar intake.
You should also look at doing at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and additionally an activity to improve muscle strength at least two days a week.
Try a circuits, aerobics or Les Mills class or go for a half hour cycling or fast walking. Check out our gym access and fitness class programmes for some great exercise ideas.