A balanced, healthy diet consists of at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day, some wholegrain carbohydrates, dairy and dairy alternatives (if lactose-intolerant), protein sources such as lean meats, fish and pulses whilst limiting the intake of foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt.
Drink plenty of fluids, around 6-8 cups of water a day, with lower-fat milks, low sugar and sugar free drinks better alternatives to high sugar fizzy drinks. Limit fruit juices and smoothies, particularly shop bought as they contain free sugars that can damage teeth, lead to weight gain, diabetes and other health implications.
Exercise is the miracle drug we’ve all been waiting for. It can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. Best thing about it? You don’t need any special equipment to do it. Adults should aim to be moderatly actve for at least 30 minutes a day and the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life. Walking or cycling to college or work instead of using the car can be a great way to build physical activity into your day, its' cheaper and sometimes quicker than driving. The more you do, the better, and healthier you’ll become.
Regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week risks damaging your health (14 units is the equivalent of six pints of beer @ 4.5% or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine @12.5% or a pub measure of spirits @ 40%.) If you drink more than this it’s worth cutting down. Immediate benefits of cutting down include feeling better in the mornings, being less tired and saving money with long term benefits to your mood, sleep quality, heart and immune system amongst others. The Drink Aware website details information, tools and resources around healthier alcohol consumption.
Regular check-ups with your GP are essential for maintaining good health. It is advised to attend your doctor at least once a year for a checkup. Here they will check your height, weight, heart rate and blood pressure. They may perform an exam on your heart and lungs also and take some blood samples to see how healthy you are. The HSE also offer screening for breast, cervical and bowel cancers so it’s important to check you're registered for these screening programmes, and that you attend them.
Be Sun Smart
Ireland has a high rate of skin cancer, both melanoma and non-melanoma in type as our typical skin types put us at higher risk of sunburn and skin cancers. The Irish Cancer Society website details the key steps to staying safe in the sun.
The National Physical Activity Plan
The National Physical Activity Plan was launched in January 2016 with the key target is to increase the number of people taking regular exercise by 1% a year over ten years – that’s around 50,000 people every year or half a million in total – by making exercise a normal part of everyday life and giving people more opportunities to be active.
- Click here for more information: The National Physical Activity Plan (PDF)
UCD is linking with the National Activity Plan in several ways, encouraging participation by students, staff and our community through:
- Introduction of walking groups
- Introduction of kilometre marking on sections of the woodland walk
- Provision of high class sports grounds, sports facilities and swimming pool
- Provision of a range of physical activities to suit all tastes, including dance, Marchathon, Tag rugby, etc.