women

Some simple tests can help you work out how healthy you are. And best of all, you can do them at home so they won’t cost you a cent

Test 1

To check…your risk of heart attack

Try... measuring your resting heart rate. The best time to do it is in the morning, before you get out of bed. Press your index and middle fingers (not your thumb) just below the ‘fat pad’ of the thumb on your opposite wrist. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply by four.

Start worrying if

Yours is consistently higher than 76 beats per minute (and you’re not pregnant, which naturally increases a woman’s heart rate).

Description: Yours is consistently higher than 76 beats per minute

Yours is consistently higher than 76 beats per minute

Why it works

Because the resting heart rate is a decent predictor of heart attack in women, regardless of things like physical activity, smoking status and other risk factors. That’s according to US researchers who discovered that women who had resting heart rates above 76 over a number of years were 26 per cent more likely to have a heart attack than women with heart rates below 62.

Take action

 Resting heart rate is a measure of how fit you are, so doing more exercise should help lower it. Relaxation techniques, which help you de-stress, might also work in the long term. But if you’re worried or discover that your run-a-marathon training hasn’t done the trick, talk to your GP.

Test 2

To check…your bowel’s health

Try... Eating a meal that involves corn – specifically one that means eating whole corn kernels (like corn on the cob or tinned corn) rather than pureed corn.

Start worrying if

You don’t see ‘yellow’ in your bowel movements within about 48 hours.

Why it works

The yellow outer ‘husk’ of a corn kernel isn’t easily digested, so some of them will stay intact as they make their way through your intestines. And that’s good news if you want to monitor your ‘bowel transit time’. Anything up to 48 hours is considered normal, but if it creeps into the next day then it’s on the slow side. It could mean you’re not eating enough fiber, which not only helps keep bowel movements ‘regular’, it also delivers antioxidants to the large bowel to help protect against bowel cancer.

Description: It also delivers antioxidants to the large bowel to help protect against bowel cancer.

It also delivers antioxidants to the large bowel to help protect against bowel cancer.

Take action

Start eating more fiber – something most Australians don’t have enough of. Find it in wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts and seeds, fruit and vegies, and legumes such as peas.

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