More than a third of Welsh adults believe they are generally less healthy now than before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a YouGov survey.
The survey found that 37% of Welsh adults generally feel less healthy, while 30% of Welsh adults reported putting on weight, with the average Welsh weight gain of 5.5 kilograms – 12 pounds – per person.
The Welsh Government’s Help Us Help You campaign is keen to emphasize that leading a healthier life means that you are more likely to live longer and less likely to develop serious illnesses and health problems.
Despite the weight gain across the country, the survey also found that 25% of people in Wales have exercised more this year and have noticed the positive impact it has had on their weight.
Gwyn Owen, Freedom Leisure Area Manager for Powys and based at the Brecon Leisure Center, said: “Small steps can make a big difference to your health and weight. In our Powys leisure centers, many activities are offered in a safe environment with qualified staff. We offer the Powys National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) in close collaboration with general practitioners, specialized nurses, physiotherapists and dietitians.
“We offer a health intervention program covering healthy weights, heart disease, stroke, cancer, falls and mental health.
“We are finding that people have had less confidence in themselves since the start of the pandemic, so we would just like to reassure people that we are a very nice group. We welcome all ages and abilities and will always have an activity to suit you.
Meanwhile, Myfanwy Taylor moved to Brecon just before the first nationwide lockdown and decided to boost activity in the area by starting a local Breeze group. Breeze is a UK cycling network that offers fun and free bike rides for women of all skill levels across the UK.
Myfanwy said: “We don’t ride very far and we don’t run like professional cyclists. It’s a great way for women to get together, meet new people, and have fun.
“We have women of all ages, abilities and sizes. Some women come on an electric bike if they find it a little easier. We usually stop for coffee along the way and always ride at the pace of the slowest rider. We are leaving no one behind. This is perfect for women who lack self-confidence or are feeling a little rusty.
Half of Welsh adults – 50 percent – say they have made an effort to eat healthier this year, making the most of time at home, which has allowed them to spend more time cooking and eating healthy.
However, more than four in 10 people – 42% – ate more unhealthy food during the lockdown as a reward and to boost morale, and that rises to 65% of Welsh people aged 18-24.
Beca Lyne-Pirkis, a 2013 Great British Bake Off favorite, is a Welsh cook and Healthy Weight Cymru Ambassador.
Beca said: “It is not always easy to exercise regularly and eat healthy, and many have found recent blockages particularly difficult. But even small changes can make a big difference to your health, and can also help you feel better. There is a lot of information and advice on how to exercise more, eat better and improve your wellbeing on the NHS 111 Wales Living Well website.
There are a number of simple, easy-to-make lifestyle choices you can make to improve your health and well-being, including being active and eating well – a few small changes can make a big difference.
Regular exercise has proven health benefits for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, lose weight, improve their physical condition and promote mental well-being. Meanwhile, eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health and can help you feel better.
As the way we access the NHS has changed, particularly during the pandemic, the NHS Wales is reminding residents that it is always there for us – Find out about the different ways to access the NHS so you can get the right help by checking online using NHS 111 Wales.
For advice on how to take the first steps on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, search NHS 111 Wales online for tips and information to get you started.
The best tips to improve your health:
– If you don’t like sports, take up a hobby like gardening or walking which is also a great source of physical activity
– Eat a more balanced diet and seek to reduce foods high in fat and sugar while consuming a lot of fruits and vegetables
– Reduce your consumption of high calorie alcohol
– Toss it with your five daily servings of fruits and vegetables – canned, dried, juiced and frozen, it all counts
– Try to eat more slowly as this gives your brain time to register when you are full
– Always eat breakfast as you are less likely to snack before lunchtime
– Avoid eating in front of the TV because if you are distracted you are less likely to notice that you enjoy your food
– Drink plenty of fluids – the average person needs six to eight glasses of fluid per day to avoid dehydration
– Move more to release endorphins that help us feel good
-Avoid sugary carbonated drinks which are high in calories and bad for the teeth
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