Healthy behaviours: an Australian report card

Many Aussies are committed to healthy behaviours, but Medibank research shows there’s more we can do

The latest Medibank Health Check takes a look at the health aspirations, expectations and behaviours of a representative sample of Australians. When it looked at healthy behaviours, it found that many of us are making some healthy everyday decisions, like trying to eat a balanced diet and finding some time to exercise, at least most of the time.

This is an excellent start and shows that many of us are on the way to making good health a real priority. However, the results do show plenty of room for improvement – and there is definite cause for concern that not enough Australians are eating nutritious food every day, exercising regularly, and finding ways to reduce stress and improve their mental wellbeing.

We pulled together some of findings, and some resources from be. magazine that might help inspire and empower you make positive changes for your health.

Note: Percentages below refer to respondents who said they ‘always’ or ‘often’ do these healthy behaviours. For more details see the full Medibank Health Check: Health aspirations report.

77% of Australians have an alcohol free day

A small drop of red wine might have some health benefits and the occasional after-work beer is understandable, but the truth is most of us drink more alcohol than is good for us. Taking a break and reducing the amount of alcohol you put in your system can be great way to show kindness to your body. The following articles may help give you a bit of inspiration:

9 benefits of a break from drinking

Understanding ‘passive drinking’

7 tips for taking a break from alcohol

7 things better than a Friday night drink

FebFast survival guide

Bye bye booze: comedian Adam Spencer’s story

Taking back Sunday morning

77% of Australians have a smoke free day

Healthier lungs, heart, eyes, stomach, skin, muscles, blood… there are so many reasons not to smoke, so it’s great news that most Australians are either saying no to cigarettes completely or making the decision to take at least a temporary break from the damaging toxins. Even better than a smoke free day is a smoke free week, month, year… or best of all, the rest of your life. Quitting is hard, but there are resources available to help support you. Here are a few more things that might help convince you:

How to cut your cancer risk

Medibank Health Hub’s smoking cessation program

5 ways to reduce heart disease risk

62% of Australians fully follow the advice of their doctors

It’s natural to turn to the convenience of Dr Google – or increasingly, Dr Facebook – when we have concerns about our health. While online information can definitely be helpful and empowering (when it comes from professional, reliable and trustworthy sources), it’s great that a large number of Australians are still trusting their doctor’s advice first and foremost. Here are a few things to think about when weighing up sources of health advice:

Cold and flu: know the facts

Discovering Dr Google

Medibank Symptom Checker

Why Google is not the same as science

59% of Australians exercise once a week

Staying active and fit is vital for good overall health. Exercising once a week is a fantastic start – though the current Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend being active on most, if not all, days every week. Still, doing any physical activity is definitely better than doing none, so if you’re not in the habit, start by doing a small amount and gradually build up to the recommended amount. Here are some ways you can increase your activity levels:

Inspiring exercise advice

How to exercise before work

11 exercise excuses and how to eliminate them

8 easy exercise swaps

Small steps every day

Easy workout for the whole body

53% of Australians eat a balanced diet every day

Eating well every day is a matter of knowing what makes a balanced diet, having the motivation to commit to good nutrition, and a little bit of planning. Here are some tips for making health food choices:

The Australian Dietary Guidelines explained

Healthy home cooking made easy

Nutrition facts: a healthy diet

One diet to rule them all

Healthy recipes

Inspiring food advice

How unhealthy is fast food?

Healthy alternatives to fast food favourites

51% of Australians find ways to maintain a good work/life balance

In so many areas of life, balance is the key to wellbeing. Working hard to support your family and to gain personal fulfilment can be an important part of your life – just make sure you find the time to balance it out with personal care as well. Here are some ways to achieve better balance:

Seeking quiet

5 ways to mindfulness at work

How to bring mindfulness to your job

Workplace health tips

Balance is the key

48% of Australians find ways to reduce stress

Stress is such a common ailment, and one that can have a very real impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. There is cause for concern that, as the Medibank Health Check survey suggests, the majority of us are not making stress-reduction a priority in our lives. Here are some starting points to help improve your wellbeing:

The art of combatting stress

Your relaxation toolkit

Meditation and mindfulness practice

For better mental health

7-minute yoga routine

The power of Yinyoga

Tom Cronin on meditation

43% of Australians get a full night’s sleep

Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health, giving our bodies a chance to rest and restore themselves. Unfortunately, most of us struggle to get enough of it, as the results of the Medibank Health Check clearly show. Here are some tips for a good night’s rest, every night:

5 expert tips for better sleep

Sleep well, be well

Natural light and sleep

Sleep aponea uncovered

6 ways to sleep better tonight

43% of Australians exercise more than three times a week

Once you’re in the routine of doing a bit of exercise, it’s time to step it up to meet the recommended weekly activity levels. Here are some ways you can push yourself to be more active:

5 ways to step up your exercise routine

6 tips to becoming a morning runner

Your guide to running to work

5 ways to mix up your training

Your first triathlon

be. training guides

38 % of Australians have a regular health check-up

It’s a cliché but it’s true: prevention is better than cure. Here are some things you should know about getting regular check-ups before problems start:

4 health numbers you should know

Medibank Symptom Checker

7 reasons to see a physio before you get injured

5 ways to reduce heart disease risk

Read more about the latest Medibank Health Check report.

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