14 June 2017

Your well-being Warrant of Fitness

Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our Wellbeing WOF Checklist.

In Part 1 we covered the Head, Gut, and Heart.

This time, we’re talking Bones, Skin, and those vital but potentially very vulnerable 'Private Parts'.

[  ] Bones

Chronic pain and osteoarthritis (a cause of chronic pain) are the most common problems for older people and rates are rising. Unfortunately we still don’t know what causes it. Treating with pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories can be harmful so look for natural alternatives in foods and supplements. For example, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and turmeric all have anti-inflammatory properties.

If you have an injury or an operation, e.g. a hip replacement, listen to your physio and do your exercises. If you stop moving, your muscles can degenerate and your joints can lose their range of motion. This could open you up to a whole host of other problems.

Inflammation in the body has been shown to be associated with almost every health condition, including arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and cancer. Exercise can reduce this inflammation as well as prevent and manage osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a major cause of fractures or broken bones as we age. Screening tests are sometimes available at pharmacies and shopping malls. Vitamin D and calcium provide good support.

Yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, and swimming are all great options to keep your body strong and your bones aligned. They also help relieve stress and tension.

[  ] Skin

This is your body’s biggest organ, yet it is often overlooked.

Melanoma is a major concern, especially if you’ve spent your whole life in the New Zealand sun. So don’t tack a quick skin spot check onto the end of your GP visit. Give yourself and your doctor time for a thorough check.

Be aware of toxins and chemicals in skincare ranges that may affect hormones. The cells in your body are fragile – look after them!

Up good fats in your diet to keep your skin looking good and drink plenty of water to aid repair, where possible 6-8 glasses a day.

Report rashes of any kind. They are your body trying to tell you something your doctor is likely to understand.

[  ] Bowel, bladder, breast, prostate, cervix 

Do NOT be shy about reporting problems in these areas.

Incontinence is common and can nearly always be treated or managed. Sorting out the cause and finding the best solution can be life-changing.

Register for breast and cervical screening programmes and self-check regularly. If that’s not your thing, ask your GP. If you don’t like/trust/feel comfortable with your GP, find another one.

We have one of the highest bowel cancer rates in the world. A pilot screening programme in Waitemata will be rolled out to the Wairarapa and Hutt Valley DHBs this July and additional funding in this year’s Budget means Southern and Counties Manakau DHB are up next.

In the meantime, if you do have symptoms or a family history, present the information to your doctor asap and get yourself referred. Take responsibility for your own health!

Collaborate with your GP and ask for a complete ‘systems review’ (that’s medical speak for a Well-being WOF).

Don’t let your retirement – this trip of a lifetime - be unduly delayed by health concerns that were entirely preventable or treatable. Look after your mind, body and soul!

This story was written with advice from: GP, Dr Marcus Bishop; Holistic Health Coach, Patchouli Brinkman; and Personal Trainer, Inga Fillary.

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