10 NUMBERS THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE

For the most part of our lives, the state of our health comes down to numbers – the recommended daily calorie intake, your ideal body mass index and your blood pressure rate to name but a few.

In support of the recently launched Welsh Assembly Government scheme Health Challenge Wales, The Sports Council for Wales has identified ten further figures which will help you make the changes in body and mind and – when added to the basics - will add up to a super-healthy you!

Blackberries5 –a-day!

The average fruit and vegetable consumption in Wales is less than three portions a day. However, studies have shown that eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day provides a variety of health benefits.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, fibre and other nutrients. Along with physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight, eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day promotes good health and reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases

10,000 Measuring your heart rate

Ideally, in between the first plundering steps to the bathroom in the morning, to the last few as we crawl into bed at night, we should have walked 10,000 steps in one day, which is roughly 5 miles or 8 kilometres.

Most of us walk around 4,000-6,000 steps a day without even thinking about it and even most sedentary of people, confined between the four walls of an office, muster the energy to pace around 2,000.

But one thing’s for sure; you won’t know how many extra steps you should be taking, unless you know how many you’re already walking.

Pedometers vary in price and quality but most have a digital display which tells you how many steps you've taken. It's the size of a matchbox, clips on to your belt and is widely regarded by experts as a very effective tool in helping to create a healthier nation.


Pilates Stretch5x30

Government guidelines advise that adults should have at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least five days per week. Moderate intensity exercise should make you feel warmer and slightly out of breath. The 30 minutes doesn't have to be taken all in one go - you can break it up into two 15-minute sessions or even three slots of 10 minutes. For example, it can be made up of 10-minute brisk walks rather than catching the bus or jumping in the car for short journeys.

8 x 8

Experts recommend that eight glasses of water should be consumed daily to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Water accounts for almost two thirds of our entire body weight and it is lost daily through evaporation when we breathe and through sweat when we exercise.

The Food Standards Agency recommends that lost fluids should be replaced by drinking a minimum of 1.5 litres of water per day (6-8 glasses) to ensure that the body is able to function at its best.

However, a recent survey by leading British drinks manufacturer, Silver Spring found that fewer than one in 10 of us drinks enough water to benefit our health (Feb 2005).

No Smoking Day1/4

26% of people in Wales are smokers. However, 27% of people in Wales are ex-smokers who have managed to kick the habit that kills on average more than 300 people in the UK every day.

It is a well-known fact that smoking is a contributing factor to lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema. Moreover, there are also some little-publicised health problems associated with smoking. It can affect both your sense of taste and smell. Smokers are more likely to develop facial wrinkles at a younger age and have dental hygiene problems. Stomach ulcers are made worse by smoking, and wounds, including surgical incisions, in smokers take longer to heal.


15The Taff Trail

...minutes is the time it should take a fit and healthy individual to walk one mile. Doing just that burns about the same number of calories as running a mile in 8.30 minutes.

The Countryside Council for Wales is committed to creating opportunities for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors. Find out more about National Nature Reserves and National Trails across Wales and start enjoying walks through the stunning landscapes of Wales. www.ccw.gov.uk

Measure your waist line!30 - 37

The average female waist size in 1960 was 30 inches. Since then, the average waist size has increased by a staggering seven inches to 37. Experts have classified any woman with a waist measuring over 35" as medically obese.


9%Stress

In any given week, around 9% of the UK population will suffer from mild depression. Regular exercise can act as a preventative medicine against it, helping to boost general health and the immune system and enabling the mind to better manage the trials of modern life.

Raspberries95

Number of calories you need to cut a day in order to lose about 10 pounds in a year. Avoid the sweets and snacks aisles at the supermarket and resist the tempting calls of the last two cookies in the biscuit barrel and the pounds will fade away. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Consume an extra 95 calories a day and you’ll be insulated with an extra ten pounds of weight at the end of the year.

289

This is the number of calories in a single jam doughnut. A ten stone woman would have to run for 29 minutes at a ten-minute-mile pace to burn them off. It’s always worth considering whether you’re willing to pay nearly a half hour of penance for a minute of pleasure!

Health Challenge Wales is a call to all organisations and people to work together to make Wales an even better and healthier place to live. You can set yourself a personal challenge to take steps to improve your health or a challenge with family or friends. For your free action pack with ideas on what you can do, call or visit www.healthchallenge.wales.gov.uk