Mental and physical health both are dependent on each other. Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health, leading to an increased risk of some conditions.
How mental health affects physical health
There are various ways in which poor mental health has been shown to be detrimental to physical health.
- double the risk of death from heart disease
- three times the risk of death from respiratory disease.
This is because people with mental health conditions are less likely to receive the physical healthcare they’re entitled to. Mental health service users are statistically less likely to receive the routine checks (like blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol) that might detect symptoms of these physical health conditions earlier. They are also not as likely to be offered help to give up smoking, reduce alcohol consumption and make positive adjustments to their diet.
Physical health is the state of being free from illness or injury. It can cover a wide range of areas including a healthy diet, healthy weight, dental health, personal hygiene, and sleep.
Physical health is vital for overall well-being
Chronic physical illness is a long-term health problem that will not go away – for example, diabetes, asthma, arthritis or cancer. Chronic physical illnesses can be managed, but they cannot be cured.
What can I do to be healthy?
There are many things that you can do to be healthy. These include eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, bathing or showering regularly. You should also attend the optician and dentist as well as brushing your teeth twice per day. Always attend any hospital appointments or see the doctor if you feel unwell.
Physical activity in any form is a great way to keep you physically healthy as well as improving your mental well-being. Research shows that doing exercise influences the release and uptake of feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Physical activity means any movement of your body that uses your muscles and expends energy. From tending your garden to running a marathon, even gentle forms of exercise can significantly improve your quality of life.
As a teenager, your body is going through many physical changes – changes that need to be supported by a healthy, balanced diet.
The range of nutrients and balanced food groups you receive will provide many benefits in terms of your growth and development, some important nutrients/vitamins the body requires to include:
- Vitamin D
Eating healthily doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite foods. It simply means eating a variety of foods and cutting down on food and drinks high in fat and sugar, such as sugary fizzy drinks, crisps, cakes, and chocolate. These foods should be eaten less often and in smaller amounts.
Here are some tips to help you eat more healthily:
Don’t skip breakfast
Skipping meals, especially breakfast means you miss out important vitamins and minerals needed for energy and burning fats/calories during the day. Having breakfast will help you to remain alert and focused for the day ahead, and some breakfast recipes are simple to follow and take little time.
Drink plenty of fluids
Drink at least 2 liters of fluid a day (ideally water) which is equivalent to around six to eight glasses. Water and skimmed milk are the most desirable choices as unsweetened fruit juice or “sugar-free” juice can still contain artificial sweeteners. Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice, and smoothies should not be more than a small glass each day, this is around 150 ml.
“Quick fix” diets
Diets that promise quick weight loss are often not nutritionally balanced, means you could miss out on important food that is beneficial for growth and organ function, such as diets that recommend a non-dairy diet or a no-carbohydrate diet.