What is physical health?
Physical health is the state of being free from illness or injury.
It can cover a wide range of areas including healthy diet, healthy weight, dental health, personal hygiene and sleep.
Physical health is vital for overall well-being.
A chronic physical illness is a long-term health problem that will not go away – for example diabetes, asthma, arthritis or cancer. Chronic physical illnesses can be managed, but they cannot be cured.
At present there are almost 70,000 children and young people under the age of 18 currently living in Bolton, and this is set to rise considerably by 2021.
There are many things that you can do to be healthy. These include eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, bathing or showering regularly.
You should also attend the optician and dentist regularly as well as brushing your teeth twice per day. Always attend any hospital appointments or see the doctor if you feel unwell.
As part our Bolton 5-19 service we have the Family Healthy Lifestyle team.
This team works to support children and young people (aged 5-19) who are above a healthy weight, work together with their families to become fitter, healthier and happier.
As a teenager, your body is going through many physical changes – changes that need to be supported by a healthy, balanced diet.
By eating a varied and balanced diet as shown in the Eatwell Guide, the range of nutrients and balanced food groups you receive will provide many benefits in terms of your growth and development, some important nutrients/vitamins the body requires include:
Eating healthily doesn’t have to mean giving up your favourite foods. It simply means eating a variety of foods and cutting down on food and drinks high in fat and sugar, such as sugary fizzy drinks, crisps, cakes and chocolate. These foods should be eaten less often and in smaller amounts.
Here are some tips to help you eat more healthily:
- Don’t skip breakfast:
Skipping meals, especially breakfast can mean you miss out on important vitamins and minerals needed for energy and burning fats/calories during the day. Having breakfast will help you to remain alert and focused for the day ahead, and some breakfast recipes are simple to follow and take little time. Try these healthy breakfast ideas.
- Drink plenty of fluids:
Aim to drink at least two litres of fluid a day (ideally water) which is equivalent to around six to eight glasses. Water and skimmed milk are the most desirable choices as unsweetened fruit juice or “sugar free” juice can still contain artificial sweeteners. Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies should not be more than a small glass each day, this is around 150ml.
- “Quick fix” diets:
Diets that promise quick weight loss are often not nutritionally balanced, meaning you could miss out on important food groups that are beneficial for growth and organ function, such as diets that recommend a non-dairy diet or a non-carbohydrate diet.
They also tend to only produce short term results, therefore the weight lost is regained and you commence the diet again. Get tips on losing weight the healthy way.
Alcohol is commonly known as a depressant, meaning it slows down your brain activity reaction times.
Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed this can last for several hours and have physical effects the next day including vomiting, headaches/migraines, stomach pain and dehydration.
There are many individual symptoms that depend on bodily reactions, including an increased appetite for most people.
In terms of effects on the brain, alcohol lowers your usual abilities, for example you may make some choices that you necessarily wouldn’t if sober. This can include unsafe sex, violence or aggression.
The effects can also affect your physical state as well as mental, for example under the influence of alcohol you could feel happy and less inhibited, become down and reduce your reflexes and it can also cause you to slur your words, get blurred vision, and lose coordination.
These effects take place as alcohol dulls the parts of the brain that controls how the body works.
Alcohol is very dangerous if mixed with other substances and long-term or heavy regular use can lead to serious health issues such as liver poisoning.
Alcohol can be physically addictive and you may need help to stop.
Binge drinking: refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk. This includes consuming six or more units in a single session.
The recommended weekly limit for alcohol is 14 units.
While binge drinking you are more likely to lose control and you may make risky decisions.
Binge drinking increases the risk of heart attack. It can cause vomiting if your body cannot tolerate what or how much you are drinking and when under the influence there is a risk of inhaling vomit, leading to suffocation.
Below is a drink-by-drink guide, based on a standard (175ml) 13% volume glass of white wine and 4% strength pint of lager, showing how quickly alcohol can affect your mind and body.
One glass of white wine or a pint of lager (just over two units):
- You’re talkative and you feel relaxed.
- Your self-confidence increases.
- Driving ability is already impaired. Drink driving is illegal in the UK, therefore the recommendation for travel arrangements while drinking would be a public service such as a taxi or to arrange a designated driver beforehand.
Two glasses of white wine or two pints of lager (just over four units):
- Your blood flow increases.
- You feel less inhibited and your attention span is shorter.
- You start dehydrating, one of the causes of a hangover.
Three glasses of white wine or three pints of lager (just under 7 units):
- Your reaction time is slower.
- Your liver has to work harder.
- Your sex drive may increase, while your judgement may decrease.
Four glasses of white wine or 4 pints of lager (just over 9 units):
- You’re easily confused.
- You’re noticeably emotional.
- Your sex drive could now decrease and you may become less capable.
Bear in mind that some people, including women, young people and those with smaller builds, may experience the effects after drinking smaller amounts of alcohol.
Alcohol is legal to consume at the age of 16 but sales are restricted for under 18s.
What is cannabis?
It’s the most widely-used illegal drug in Britain.
- Cannabis is naturally occurring – it is made from the cannabis plant.
- The main active chemical in it is tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC for short).
- THC is the ingredient in cannabis that can make you feel very happy and relaxed.
- THC can also make you hallucinate, meaning that it can alter your senses, so that you might see, hear or feel things in a different way to normal.
There are many myths about cannabis – that it’s safe because it’s natural, that using cannabis will completely ruin your life, your health and your future or that using cannabis will lead you into using other, more dangerous drugs. What is true is that cannabis can have some very real, harmful effects on your mind and body, as well as creating longer-term problems:
- Cannabis effects how your brain works. It can make you feel very anxious and even paranoid, it can make it difficult for you to concentrate, decrease your attention span, worsen your ability to memorise or retain information and make you feel less motivated.
- Tobacco and cannabis share some of the same chemical ‘nasties’ and just like smoking tobacco, smoking cannabis has been linked to lung diseases like tuberculosis and lung cancer.
- Using it has also been linked, in some people, to serious, long-term mental health problems.
- An arrest for possessing cannabis could lead to a caution, a fine or even jail.
The risks: Cannabis can alter your state of mind
Cannabis can change your mental state and mood. It can disturb your sleep and can in some cases cause depression. You might see or hear things which are not there (known as hallucinations) which may be frightening. For some people, cannabis causes hours or even days of anxiety, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations that usually only settles down after the drug has left your body.
- Relapses can occur in people with illnesses such as schizophrenia.
- Regular cannabis use is known to be associated with an increase in the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia; this is more likely if you have a family background of mental illness.
- Regular, heavy use makes it difficult to learn and concentrate and research has linked cannabis use to poor exam results. This is a potentially serious risk if you’re young, when the brain is still developing. People who take a lot of cannabis can also find they lack motivation.
Cannabis can alter your physical state
- Tobacco and cannabis share some of the same harmful chemicals. Like smoking tobacco, smoking cannabis can make asthma worse, can cause wheezing in people without asthma and can even lead to lung cancer.
- When people mix cannabis with tobacco they’re also taking on all the risks associated with smoking tobacco, which can range from coughs and chest infections to cancer or heart disease.
- It can increase the heart rate and affect blood pressure, which can be especially harmful for those with heart disease.
- It is reported that frequent use of cannabis may affect fertility. It can reduce a man’s sperm count and can suppress ovulation in women.
- If you’re pregnant, smoking cannabis may increase the risk of your baby being born smaller than expected.
What is the effect of mixing cannabis and alcohol?
Mixing cannabis with alcohol can have particularly serious consequences – the accident rate is 16 times higher than for cannabis or alcohol alone.
For more information on alcohol and substance misuse visit the 360 website.
During your teenage years your body will go through lots of different changes, this is called puberty.
For boys this means:
- the voice breaks and becomes deeper
- facial hair, under arm and pubic hair begins to grow
- they go through a growth spurt and become more muscular
- the penis and testicles grow
- some boys will sweat more
- boys can often develop acne to the face, chest and back
- it can also cause mood swings due to the increasing level of hormones
For girls this means:
- they begin to develop breasts
- pubic hair starts to grow
- around 2 years after starting puberty most girls will start their periods
- some girls will sweat more
- girls often develop acne
- most girls go through a growth spurt and gain weight
Fresh as a daisy is a not-for-profit group that provides sanitary and personal hygiene products to young women and girls in Bolton.
We are lucky enough at The Parallel to be one of the chosen services who are provided with products which we pass on, for free, to the young people who access us.
If you are struggling to afford or find you do not have enough supplies for when you are on your period or to keep yourself as clean as you would like, then we are more than happy to help – just come a long to one of our drop in clinics and one of our nurses will help.
The 4You leaflet
This leaflet explains body changes, puberty and sex in an easy to understand way.