September isn’t only a good time to spring-clean your home, it’s also an excellent opportunity to spring-clean your health. Spring is all about new beginnings and what better place to begin than yourself?

A good starting point is to get your health checked out by a professional. Though you may not feel like anything’s wrong there are loads of illnesses that don’t present any symptoms.

Doctor Dick Quan, a general practitioner at Holdsworth House Medical Practice in Darlinghurst, says men in particular are reluctant to book in for a check-up.

A lot of men have the attitude of -˜if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, Quan said. But it’s better to monitor and to prevent things than to fix it when it’s already broken.

The types of things Quan looks at in a general check-up include blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood-sugar levels to check for diabetes, heart problems, prostate problems in men, and skin. A lot of people are sun worshippers and should definitely have moles and lumps and bumps checked, he said.

What else is checked depends greatly on each patient’s family history of illness. People who have a family history of anything are encouraged to get checked out a few times a year.

For gay men, a general health check-up should include a sexual health check. Many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are easy to pick up, don’t show any symptoms and can lead to an increased risk of being infected with HIV.

So if people are -˜out and about’, Quan said, I generally would recommend they have both blood tests and the swabbing at least once a year, if not twice a year. If they have multiple partners they should do it every three months.

It’s a good idea to get yourself a regular GP, Quan advised, because they will notice changes in your health.

It’s much more difficult if the doctor’s never seen you. They don’t know what to look out for. Adopt a regular GP who you have a good relationship with.

You should also consider getting your teeth checked out. No one likes going to the dentist but it is important to keep teeth clean and in good shape.

Spring is also the perfect time to get outside and do some walking. Many of us led sedentary existences during winter, but now the weather in Sydney is well and truly warming up it’s a great time to get outside and get healthy.

Walking is excellent for your heart, lungs and for burning fat so it’s a great way to lose a bit of weight. It’s also a lovely way to clear the cobwebs out of your mind and de-stress. Walking for half an hour a day can make a real difference.

There are lots of ways you can incorporate more walking into your routine. Walk to work if you can, or if you catch public transport get off a few blocks early and walk the remainder of the way. Go for a stroll at lunchtime, and take the stairs instead of catching a lift.

Spring is a great time to start eating healthy as well. An array of fruit and vegetables come into season at this time, making them tastier and much more desirable to eat. A range of apples, oranges, pawpaw, strawberries, cucumber, grapefruit, avocado, asparagus, tomato and cherries, to name just a few, should all be at their best over the spring months.

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