Spring has sprung and while a spring clean usually extends to washing windows, dusting ceiling corners and changing pillows, a new season is also the perfect time to clean up your health.
Healthy habits can take dedication and time to develop, but the benefits are far reaching, boosting short-term wellness and helping reduce chronic diseases, like cancer, in the future.
We know that at least a third of cancer cases can be prevented through simple healthy lifestyle changes.
Changes such as ensuring you are eating well, limiting alcohol, staying active, quitting smoking, staying SunSmart and participating in cancer screening programs can reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Try focusing on creating sustainable change this spring and consider behaviours you can adopt that you’ll be more likely to stick with over time.
Having goals and a support system in place can help you stay healthy, so try talking to your family, friends and make sure you ask your general practitioner for advice if you want to make big changes to your lifestyle.
Below are a few practical tips to help you implement healthy lifestyle behaviours into your everyday life.
Start with a healthy diet
As the weather starts to warm up, spring is a great time for nourishing salads and vegetable rich stir-fries.
Queensland’s seasonable fruits like bananas, strawberries oranges and mangoes make a healthy diet a delicious choice.
Eating two serves of fruit and at least five serves of vegetables each day is the single most important dietary change Queenslanders can make.
Spring into shape
Evidence suggests that maintaining a healthy weight throughout life is one of the most important ways people can protect themselves against many types of cancer.
With extra daylight providing more time to work on your fitness, try to find an exercise routine that works for you and stick to it. Up to one hour of moderate activity daily, or 30 minutes of vigorous activity, is recommended to reduce your cancer risk.
Activities that are classified as moderate intensity include; brisk walking, mowing the lawn, or medium paced swimming or cycling.
Vigorous intensity activities make you ‘huff and puff.’ This includes playing squash, netball, circuit training and jogging.
Step up your sun safety
A common misconception is that sun protection is only necessary when the temperature is high.
The cause of almost all skin cancers is UV radiation, which can be just as high on a cool day as it is on a hot one.
Don’t wait until summer to protect your skin.
When checking the weather pay attention to what the UV level is expected to reach.
When UV radiation is expected to reach levels of three or higher, use all five methods of sun protection.
Schedule health checks and screening appointments
Checking in with the look and feel of your body and escalating any concerns to a health professional should form part of your daily habits.
This spring make a commitment to participate in cancer screening programs that you are eligible for.
There are national cancer screening programs for breast, cervical and bowel cancer. Early detection is pivotal for living a long, healthy life.
Document your journey
One of the best parts about tracking your health journey, be that physical or mental, is that it can help keep you accountable and give you time to reflect on the changes you have made.
You could try writing down what you eat and drink during each day or document your physical activity levels.
Some people also find journaling useful for relieving stress, clarifying thoughts or helping find silver linings.
Remember that it may take time to see results, and that’s okay. Over time you’ll reap the rewards of a healthier lifestyle and reduce your risk of cancer.
Cancer Council Queensland offers a range of programs and resources designed to support Queenslanders to reduce their cancer risk where they live, work, play and learn.