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Living a healthy life

Find out how to live a healthier life and what support is available if you’re worried about your health.

The North Lincolnshire Healthy Lifestyle team

The North Lincolnshire Healthy Lifestyle team brings together lifestyle support services in one place. This makes it easier for local people to access help and support for a range of issues at once.

You can access the team at local venues such as leisure centres, community hubs, children’s centres and some GP practices.

Our friendly healthy lifestyle facilitators can support you with:

  • achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
  • stopping smoking
  • reducing alcohol use
  • being more physically active
  • increasing wellbeing, including mental and emotional health
  • training around health and wellbeing for those people who are interested in becoming trained as health champions
  • signposting to wider local supporting services

Everyone who is seen by the team will have a one-to-one assessment with one of our healthy lifestyle facilitators. They will then identify the best way to offer support.

We offer a programme of six to 12 sessions at local convenient venues. Follow-up support will be available once the programme has been completed.

The team will accept self-referrals as well as referrals from GPs, nurses and social care.

For more information contact us on email us or call us.

Evidence shows that people who do the recommended amount of physical activity (150 minutes per week) have a lower risk of many chronic diseases. These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers.

Physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy. It also reduces your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The good news is that as soon as you begin regular physical activity you’ll start to feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Our aspiration is to get everybody to do a minimum of 150 minutes moderate intensity physical activity each week to help keep fit. The 150 minutes doesn’t have to be done in one go. Doing 10 minutes at a time is enough to start getting the benefits.

Moderate intensity activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song.

Examples of moderate intensity activities are:

  • brisk walking
  • water aerobics
  • gardening or pushing a lawn mower
  • dancing
  • swimming
  • cycling on level ground
  • golf
  • active games with the kids

NCFE exercise studies course online

North Lincolnshire Adult Education and Community Learning offer an NCFE level 1 exercise studies course online. This will help you to identify and improve your own levels of fitness and help you make exercise part of your everyday life.

For more information visit NCFE level 1 exercise studies on the North Lincs Adult Education website.

We have lots of great opportunities for you to take part in physical activity.  Some sessions, groups or clubs are free or at a reduced cost. Many are based in the heart of our local communities enabling physical activity to be more accessible than ever before.

With various types of physical activity to choose from locally, there will be something for everyone regardless of age, fitness level or interest.

  • Leisure centres – across five sites, providing a range of exercise, fitness and sports activities for adults and children
  • Walking your way to health – free and supportive group walks taking place across North Lincolnshire led by trained volunteers
  • Street Sport – an initiative in North Lincolnshire for young people, where mobile sports leaders bring street sport directly into communities
  • Other leisure activities – for finding local clubs and societies, local parks and playgrounds, outdoor facilities, allotments and activities for children and young people

The Change4Life website also has lots of ideas and activities for children and young people.

Mental health is as important as physical health. Good mental health helps you to:

  • make the most of your potential
  • cope with life
  • play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends.

At least one in four of us will experience mental health problem at some point in our life (often not diagnosed nor requiring specialist services). Almost half of all adults will experience at least one episode of depression in their lifetime.

Many people who live with a mental health problem (or are developing one) try to keep their feelings hidden because they are afraid of other people’s reactions.

Mental health support

The following offer support, practical advice and tips to achieve positive mental health:

The North Lincolnshire Healthy Lifestyle Service can also support you to improve your wellbeing, including your mental and emotional health. The service can be accessed in numerous settings across North Lincolnshire. To make an appointment with our friendly team, please telephone 01724 297000 or nlc.healthylifestyles@nhs.net.

Accessing NHS mental health services in North Lincolnshire

You can access a range of self-help, online and face-to-face mental health support via the NHS. You don’t necessarily need to visit your GP first. Visit the Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDASH) website for further information.

Urgent mental health help

See your GP if:

  • you’ve been feeling depressed for more than a few weeks
  • your anxiety is affecting your daily life

If you want to talk to someone right away, the mental health helpline on the NHS website has a list of national organisations you can call for immediate help.

Local support is also available from RDaSH mental health teams. Visit their adult mental health services page for contact details.

The Samaritans helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for people who want to talk in confidence. Call 116 123 (free).

If you’ve had thoughts of self-harming or are feeling suicidal, contact someone you can trust immediately, such as your GP, or a friend or relative.

Infant mental health

The mental health of babies is as important as it is for older children and for adults. For further information visit our infant mental health page.

Online courses

Adult Education and Community Learning offer lots of courses including stress awareness and understanding children and young people’s mental health.

Find out more on the North Lincs Adult Education website.

Healthy eating is important because a balanced and nutritious diet improves your health. It also:

  • reduces your risk of illness and disease (like cancers and heart disease)
  • helps you to achieve and maintain a healthier weight
  • supports you to look and feel your best

The key to healthier eating is getting the right amount of food for how active you are and eating a balanced range of foods.

For advice on healthy eating visit the Change4life website. It has a wide range of ideas for making meals and snacks healthier, along with tasty balanced recipes.

Giving up smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health.

Everyone has their own reasons for giving up smoking. Whether you want to improve your health, be able to play football with your grandchildren, save money, or be finally free from nicotine addiction, it’s never too late to quit. There is plenty of support to help you.

You can get support from the North Lincolnshire Healthy Lifestyle Service to stop smoking. After an initial one-to-one assessment with one of the healthy lifestyle facilitators, you may receive help to access nicotine replacement, set a quit date and be supported in your journey to become smoke free.

The NHS website has lots of tips on how to stop smoking

Pregnant women and their partners

Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life.

It’s never too late to stop smoking. Every cigarette you smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, so smoking when you are pregnant harms your unborn baby. Cigarettes can restrict the essential oxygen supply to your baby, so their heart has to beat harder every time you smoke.

If your partner or anyone else who lives with you smokes, their smoke can affect you and the baby both before and after the birth. You may also find it difficult to stop if someone around you smokes.

The North Lincolnshire Healthy Lifestyle Service can help you stop smoking. There are a range of options available to suit pregnant women. These include hospital clinics, community clinics, support groups for pregnant women and home visits.

Speak to your midwife about getting support. 

If you (or someone you know) is experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs or mental health you can get free confidential support from With You. This service has been commissioned by North Lincolnshire Council.

The service can provide:

  • support for people to recover
  • effective tailored personalised care
  • enables individuals to realise their true potential
  • support in community settings

There is also a wide range of advice and support on the Talk to Frank website

Advice for people tempted to drink more than usual

Drug, alcohol and mental health charity With You (formerly Addaction) is offering advice to people tempted to drink more than usual in these tough times.

Simple tips to reduce your drinking:

  • Drink free days – having several drink free days will help reduce your alcohol use which should improve your physical and mental health. Public Health England has a Drink Free Days App to help you manage this.
  • Find a routine – social distancing can leave you feeling out of sync, but a routine can help provide order and familiarity. Try dividing your day up into sections and plan what you’re going to do at each time. Have slots for work, meals, chores, relaxation, exercise and stick to these as much as possible.
  • Stay in touch – not being able to go out or have friends and family to visit can make people feel lonely, so make time to call people and where possible video call so you can see a friendly face.
  • Reach out for support – there’s no shame in needing a helping hand in these tough times. If you are worried about yourself or a loved one you can speak anonymously to a trained advisor via With You online webchat.

The NHS website has advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing. These include:

If you are aged 40 to 74 years old and don’t have a pre-existing condition, the NHS health check is a free midlife MOT.

People who have had an NHS Health Check will be advised (if necessary) on how to reduce their risk of developing disease. That may mean lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, cutting down on alcohol, stopping smoking or increasing their amount of physical activity. If someone is at higher risk, those changes may be combined with medical treatments, such as medicines to lower raised blood pressure or cholesterol.

The health check is to assess your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and stroke.

For a free NHS health check contact your GP. Health Checks are available at all but four of our GP practices in North Lincolnshire.

The Healthy Lifestyle Service can also deliver health checks in workplaces. We will also be holding sessions in local community venues across North Lincolnshire.

The health check will take about 20 to 30 minutes and we will:

  • ask you some simple questions, for example about your family history and any medication you are currently taking
  • record your height, weight, age, sex and ethnicity
  • take your blood pressure and pulse
  • do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol level
  • discuss how we can support you to reduce your risk and stay healthy
  • take you through your results and explain what they mean
  • give you personalised advice about how to lower your risk and maintain a healthy lifestyle

There are certain risk factors associated with dementia and whilst we cannot eliminate them all, there are things we can do to try to reduce our risk.

Be mentally active

Learning new skills and hobbies and connecting with others socially may help to reduce your risk of developing dementia as well as improving your general mental wellbeing, helping to keep you happy and positive. This is important as people with depression are probably at a greater risk of developing dementia.

Healthy diet

A healthy diet will help keep you at a healthy weight, reducing the likelihood of developing high blood pressure which can significantly increase your risk of developing dementia. A healthy diet can also help to keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels within a healthy range helping to prevent Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Diabetes and high cholesterol are both risk factors in developing dementia. If you are between 40 and 74 you can have a free NHS Health Check at your GP surgery.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for healthy ageing and most of it comes from sunlight on the skin. It can also be found in oily fish, eggs, and fortified cereals and is important in preventing diseases including osteoporosis. Those with very low levels are twice as likely to develop dementia. It is advisable that you take a vitamin D supplement through the winter months, ask you GP or pharmacist. Visit the NHS website for more information.

Keep active

Keeping active is also important for brain health. Regular exercise in middle aged and older adults can improve memory and thinking helping to prevent some types of dementia. Try to do at least 30 minutes activity that will raise your heart rate on three to five days a week. Visit our physical activity page for more information.

Quit smoking

Smoking is harmful to the blood vessels in the lungs, heart and brain increasing the risk of developing dementia by as much as 50 per cent compared to those who have never smoked.

Reduce alcohol consumption

Drinking above the safe levels of alcohol significantly increases the risk of developing dementia so it is important for men and women not to drink more than the recommended 14 units per week.

Sleep

Sleeping well promotes good brain health. Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on the brain leading to increased dementia risk. It is recommended that adults aged 18 to 64 should try to get seven to nine hours sleep a night. Visit the NHS website for more information.

Our public health team can support you to improve the health and wellbeing of your employees. We can provide your business and staff with advice and guidance on topics such as:

  • emotional wellbeing and minimising stress
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • stopping smoking
  • weight management
  • healthier eating
  • physical activity
  • alcohol and substance misuse
  • sexual health
  • leadership, workplace culture and policy guidance

Healthy Workplace Awards Scheme

Our North Lincolnshire Healthy Workplace Awards Scheme recognises businesses that:

  • value a healthy workforce, and
  • commit to creating a healthy culture for their employees

The four levels are bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Our workplace health coordinator can support you progress through each level. You will be presented with your award at our annual celebration and awards event.

The award scheme is free to all businesses in North Lincolnshire. Lots of local employers are already taking part in the scheme, including British Steel, Ongo, Stagecoach, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Trust and many more.

For further information, or to take part in the awards scheme, please contact us.

Useful information

Winter health

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.

For information on how to stay well in winter visit the NHS website.

Cold weather benefits

You may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Grants available include the Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) has advice on how to reduce bills and make your home more energy efficient. They can also advise on grants and schemes available around the UK.

For more information on affordable warmth and energy saving, contact our affordable warmth team.

Healthy lifestyles during winter

Visit NHS choices for information about making healthy lifestyle choices during winter and throughout the year.

Keeping active is easy and fun. Visit our leisure services for ways to keep fit.

Summer health

Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it’s too hot for too long, there are health risks. For information on how to stay safe in hot weather visit the NHS website.

Worried about a relative or neighbour

If you’re worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, please contact our emergency social care support on 01724 297000 or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.