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How to achieve optimal health and wellness

We look at the changing trends in health and wellness and how you can optimise your wellbeing with blood testing.

As a nation, we are increasingly focused on our health and wellbeing. We invest time and money in the gym, on tracking devices, vitamins, and power leggings - and are focused more than ever before on being as healthy as we can be.

A 2019 survey found that around three quarters (74%) of respondents consider themselves health-conscious [1].

Health and wellness trends

We are now living longer, and the population is ageing. As the post-war baby boomer generation enters old age, over 24% of the UK population is projected to be over 65 by 2041 [2]

This generation’s expectations of ageing are also changing. There’s now an increased focus on remaining happy and active for as long as possible. People are becoming more proactive about health to help prevent chronic conditions that can come about later in life. And their efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The data behind a healthier generation includes:

  • A growth of teetotalism amongst 24-year-olds - with one report showing that 29% never drink alcohol [3]
  • A decline in smoking rates in 18–24-year-olds [4]
  • An increase in veganism, with vegans and vegetarians predicted to make up a quarter of the British population by 2025 [5]

The data shows that people want to make healthier choices to increase their chances of living longer and feeling better. But where do you start?

How blood testing can help to optimise health

Many of us have a digital health tool, whether a fertility app or a smartwatch, and we are much more used to accessing our health records and data on our devices.

According to Google, around one in 20 online searches are health-related [9]. And although we are more informed, easy access to information can become overwhelming and cause added stress, worry, or anxiety. The digital era does have its benefits too.

Healthcare today means we can:

  • See a doctor online in minutes
  • Have greater access to remote care
  • Take a blood test in the comfort of our own homes

What can a blood test tell me?

Your blood biomarkers can give you a unique insight into your health and aren’t just for the diagnostic process.

Blood tests can help you:

  • Track your performance
  • Understand where you need to make changes to your diet and lifestyle
  • Help you to monitor or diagnose a condition

Health insights that blood tests can identify include:

  • Potential health conditions before physical symptoms appear
  • Nutrition and dietary deficiencies that can be resolved with lifestyle changes
  • Risks of genetic diseases

Ultimately, blood tests can be useful to track your health and wellness, as well as helping to alleviate any health stress or anxiety.

You can read more in our six reasons to have a health check section or take our test finder to understand which blood test is right for you.

What blood tests should I use to check on my health and wellness?

With so many blood tests on the market, which one is best to check your health and wellness?

We have put together our top three tests for health and wellness. Read more about tests to help optimise your health and wellness in our health and wellness buying guide.

Top three tests for health and wellness:

  1. Advanced Well Woman Blood Test or Advanced Well Man Blood Test – These tests are perfect if you want to give yourself a comprehensive health check and squash any niggling health concerns. It is the perfect health MOT, and it comes with advice from a qualified doctor.
  2. Ultimate Performance Blood Test – This is our ultimate blood test for men and women who are transforming their bodies through diet and exercise and want to track their progress.
  3. Health and Lifestyle Blood Test – A simple, at-home finger-prick blood test that checks your liver and kidney function, heart health, and key nutrients.

Ways to optimise your health and wellness

Poor health and wellness can affect you in several ways, including physically and mentally. Here are our five ways to help you optimise your health and wellness.

  1. Reduce stress

Reducing stress and finding time to relax may seem impossible some days, but being in a chronic state of stress can cause several complications, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Impaired regulation of blood sugar
  • Migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired immune system
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases

Therefore, beyond a certain point, constant day-to-day pressures can lead to unhelpful levels of stress that can cause damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life.

To overcome and reduce stress levels, you can:

  • Take more time for yourself
  • Get into a better sleep routine
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eliminate unnecessary stressors in your life

Find out whether your cortisol levels could be affecting your wellbeing with our simple Stress Cortisol Saliva Tests (4). It’s a simple test that you can do at home.

For more information about the causes of stress, read our stress guide.

  1. Exercise regularly

It is common knowledge that the post-workout buzz is not a source of magic but instead science. When we exercise, the body releases endorphins, which makes us happy. It’s also free and does not need a prescription. 

Not only does exercise make you feel better mentally, but it also reduces your risk of major illnesses.

Major illnesses exercise reduces the risk of includes:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer

Exercise can also lower your risk of early death by up to 30% [6]. So, whatever your age, there is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a happier and healthier life.

Don’t feel like you need to be working out all day every day to reap the benefits, though. The NHS has physical activity guidelines for all age groups to help you optimise your health without overdoing it.

By monitoring what's going on inside your body with a blood test from our Sports Performance range, you can track your progress and make informed changes based on your results.

  1. Have a good sleep routine

Sleep is often underrated when associated with health benefits and you may not realise how your sleep can affect your health.

Sleep can improve your healthy by [7]:

  • Boosting your immunity
  • Helping you lose weight
  • Improving mental health
  • Helping to prevent diabetes
  • Decreasing the risk of heart disease
  • Increasing fertility

To get a better night’s sleep make sure to:

  • Avoid bright lights and loud sounds before bed
  • Take time to wind down
  • Have a consistent routine
  1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet may seem like an obvious way to optimise your health and wellness, but being obvious doesn’t automatically make it easy.

Eating a healthy balanced diet isn’t just about weight loss or a healthy BMI. It has so many benefits to the mind and body.

Benefits of eating a healthy, balanced diet include [8]:

  • Increase in brain function
  • Improvement in energy levels
  • Reduction in depression symptoms
  • Lowers blood pressure

For tips on eating a healthy, balanced diet, have a look at the NHS Eatwell Guide.

  1. Kick bad habits

We are all guilty of some bad habits, but some can be detrimental to our health and wellbeing.

Bad habits that affect health and wellness include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating ultra-processed foods
  • Driving everywhere instead of walking
  • Having too much screen time

References

  1. 2021. 2019 Health and Wellness Consumer Trends Report. [online] Available at: <https://www.askattest.com/reports-guides/2019-health-and-wellness-consumer-trends-report> [Accessed 29 December 2021].
  2. gov.uk. 2021. Living longer - Office for National Statistics. [online] Available at: <https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/ageing/articles/livinglongerhowourpopulationischangingandwhyitmatters/2018-08-13> [Accessed 29 December 2021].
  3. Ng Fat, L., Shelton, N. and Cable, N., 2018. Investigating the growing trend of non-drinking among young people; analysis of repeated cross-sectional surveys in England 2005–2015. BMC Public Health, 18(1).
  4. Smoking, S., adults, P., mortality, P., smoking, P., adults, P., people, P., spending, P., smoking, P. and Author, C., 2021. Part 3: Smoking patterns among adults - NHS Digital. [online] NHS Digital. Available at: <https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-smoking/statistics-on-smoking-england-2019/part-3-smoking-patterns-in-adults-copy> [Accessed 29 December 2021].
  5. These Vegan Statistics Prove Veganism is Only Getting Started. 2022. These Vegan Statistics Prove Veganism is Only Getting Started. [online] Available at: <https://thegoodnessproject.co.uk/blog/vegan-statistics> [Accessed 21 January 2022].
  6. uk. 2021. Benefits of exercise. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/> [Accessed 29 December 2021].
  7. uk. 2021. Why lack of sleep is bad for your health. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/> [Accessed 29 December 2021].
  8. Davidson, N., 2021. 5 Mental Benefits of Eating Healthy - Thriveworks. [online] Thriveworks. Available at: <https://thriveworks.com/blog/5-psychological-benefits-of-eating-healthy/> [Accessed 29 December 2021].
  9. the Guardian. 2021. Google to put health information directly into search results. [online] Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/10/google-health-information-directly-into-search-results#:~:text=One%20in%2020%20searches%20on,product%20manager%20for%20Google's%20search.> [Accessed 29 December 2021].