5 health checks you can do at home
Keep an eye on your health and wellbeing with these simple tests you can do in the comfort of your own living room.
Around 80 per cent of Australians see a GP at least once a year – making them our most commonly used health service.
But there’s a lot we can do to keep a quick check on our own health.
Here are some DIY tests you can do at home.
A blood pressure check measures the pressure of blood in the arteries.
Around a third of Australians has high blood pressure, or hypertension, which is a key risk factor for stroke.
Check your blood pressure at home with a monitor – automatic monitors are easiest to use.
Choice recommends a monitor with a cuff that fits well, an easy to read display, a memory that stores recent blood pressure readings and a hypertension indicator that warns of high blood pressure.
Tight muscles can create movement problems throughout your body and make you more susceptible to injury.
You can measure your lower back and hamstring flexibility with the sit and reach test.
- Sit on the floor with both feet straight out in front of you and pressed against a wall. Do the exercise in bare feet and with knees pressed downwards.
- Reach as far towards your toes as you can and measure from the toes to your fingertips.
If fingers are past the toes, it’s a positive result.
If fingers are behind the toes, it’s a negative result. Most women reach an average of +1 to +10cm, while 0 to +5 is average for men.
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Stomach acid can cause reflux and even bad breath if it’s pushed up the esophagus.
Use an old-style home remedy to test your stomach acid levels.
- Mix a quarter teaspoon of bicarbonate soda in three-quarters of a cup of water and drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
This drink produces gas and, if stomach acid levels are normal, you should start belching within two to three minutes.
Your resting heart rate can be an indication of your heart health.
Rest for five minutes and then take your pulse, counting how many times your heart beats in a minute.
- Hold out one hand, palm upwards, and lightly press the index and middle fingers of the other hand on your wrist at the base of your thumb.
- Count the number of beats for a minute.
Most adults have a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute.
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A strong core – the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen – helps your balance and stability.
The plank test is a straightforward way to check how strong your core muscles are – or aren’t!
- On a flat surface, lie on your front with fists clenched and elbows tucked into your sides.
- Put your forearms on the floor and tuck in your toes.
- Using your forearms and feet, push up so your body is parallel to the floor.
- Make a straight line from head to toe and hold for 10 seconds.
Written by Sarah Marinos.