8 signs that you might be unhealthy
It’s easy to gradually slide into being unhealthy without noticing, especially when it happens slowly over time. If you suddenly gained 20kg overnight you’d be shocked, but gaining 50grams a week is unnoticeable.
I have been through this myself, slowly going from having a six-pack that I was proud of to finding myself out of breath and unable to keep up with my dog when taking her for her daily walks. It wasn’t until I started to notice some of the signs below that I realised it was time to prioritise my health again.
Here are 8 signs of poor health to watch out for:
- Getting out of breath easily
We should all be able to walk up a flight of stairs or run for a bus without feeling short of breath. People who are overweight often suffer from shortness of breath because they carry excess internal fat which takes up space needed by the lungs. Shallow breathing is common in obese people, which can make it harder for them to exercise.
- Waking in the middle of the night to urinate
For some people, it’s normal to use the bathroom once during the night, especially as they get older. But if you have always slept through the night and start to notice you are waking to urinate, or if your one nightly pee becomes 2 or 3 then it could be a sign to watch out for type 2 diabetes, especially if you’ve gained weight or if you’re eating a lot of sugar.As you start to develop type 2 diabetes, your body becomes less efficient at breaking down the sugar you eat into energy for your body, so it builds up in your bloodstream and can lead to significant damage. Your body gets rid of this excess sugar in your urine, causing you to urinate more often (at any hour of the day or night) and therefore become thirstier too.
- Feeling low on energy despite sleeping 8 hours
Being unhealthy can make you feel more tired and lacking in energy, even if you sleep 8 hours per night. This might be due to reduced oxygen flow in your sleep from bad circulation, restricted breathing, or maybe you’re just setting yourself up for bad sleep (link to sleep article)
- Achy joints
It will come as no surprise to learn that excess bodyweight puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints such as your knees and ankles, but being unhealthy (whether you are overweight or not) leads to inflammation in the body and swelling of the joints, which causes pain and immobility.
- The fat on some parts of your body is hard instead of soft
Take your thumb and index finger and pinch the fat on different areas of your body (try your upper arm, stomach, love handles and inner knee. Does it hurt? If so, this is a sign that you suffer from inflammation, which means poor health. Ideally, fat (and we all need some fat) should be soft and pliable, and not painful when you pinch it firmly
- You wake yourself (or your partner) by snoring
In the same way that excess internal fat can make you out of breath, excess neck fat can make you snore at night by compressing your airway. It can also be due to inflamed tissue in your throat and neck, or even food allergies.
- You’re often bloated or gassy
Excess gas is often a sign that your digestive system is not functioning as it should. Some eating habits make flatulence worse (more frequent and worse smelling) – these include over-eating, not chewing food enough, too much processed or high-fat food and not enough fibre (too much fibre can cause flatulence too, but not enough makes the digestive system sluggish so food sits in your gut and produces gas rather than moving through as it should)
- You get sick more often than just occasionally
Most of us will suffer from a cold once a year or a 24 hour stomach bug from time to time but if you tend to get sick more often than your friends and colleagues then it could be a sign of poor immunity.
What can you do about being unhealthy?
It may sound all doom and gloom but the good news here is that each of the 8 signs of poor health mentioned above can be vastly improved upon and, in most cases, virtually eliminated when we implement the correct lifestyle changes.
Even though it seems obvious, eating healthier food and starting to exercise really can be the difference between poor, deteriorating health and a longer, happier, healthier life. The key lies in making small sustainable changes that you can keep up forever – such as eating vegetables with every meal, going for a walk after lunch or even drinking more water.
How quickly can you expect to see changes?
As quickly as 2 weeks! Once you start to exercise and eat better your body very quickly gets rid of inflammation, and that is the beginning of a much healthier lifestyle. Seeing changes so quickly spurs you on to make even more changes, and before long you are 3 months into a much healthier version of yourself; sleeping better, enjoying better health and being able to run for that bus (or after your kids) without even noticing!
ATP Personal Training specialises in helping clients like you make the changes you need for a sustainably healthy lifestyle that will keep you feeling and looking your best even into your old age. Click below to get in touch for more details of our locations, packages and pricing.