Doing your annual health check in 2021

Updated: May 13

Understanding your baseline physical and mental health forms an important part of building a healthy lifestyle. This blog post is part 2 of the Mind and Body series which discusses tips for a healthy lifestyle. This blog post focuses on the physical health check. If you haven't read part 1 of this series click here and read it first.

Tips for a healthy lifestyle

Having a physical health check can give an indicator of your overall health and can also identify any issues that may require review by a healthcare professional. A full annual health check should be performed by a suitably qualified healthcare professional. I also discuss how you can complete a basic DIY check up.

If you are persistently feeling low, distressed, worried or having symptoms you are worried about, speak to your GP or a suitable healthcare professional or call NHS 111.

*If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about harming yourself, distressed or having difficulty coping get urgent help*

If you are under 40 years old, fit and well and do not have any pre-existing medical conditions, at a minimum, your blood pressure, pulse and Body Mass Index (BMI) should be checked at least once a year. However you can also perform the blood tests discussed below.

If you are 40 years old or more you should definitely have your vital signs and blood tests (see below) or have a full annual health check performed by a healthcare professional.

You can attend a pharmacy or the reception of your GP surgery to have your weight, BMI, blood pressure and pulse checked.


You can make an appointment to see the healthcare assistant at your GP surgery to have these checked.


You can book a full annual health check provided by a private healthcare provider e.g. Livesmart, BUPA (these will include a range of tests and vary in price)


You can do it yourself by buying a blood pressure monitor (that measures blood pressure and pulse) and weighing scales for home use.


If you are in the UK, free NHS health checks are available every 5 years from age of 40 until 74. This only applies if you do not have a pre-existing chronic medical condition. If you have a chronic condition you will have more regular checks. These checks include blood pressure, BMI check and a limited range of blood tests to check your cholesterol levels and to exclude diabetes.

Speak to or see your GP or the Practice Nurse if on more that one occasion:

  • Your blood pressure is above or equal to 130/90 mmHg. Although Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a persistent blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or more, it's good practice to repeat and monitor blood pressure regularly if its 130/90mmHg or more.

  • Your blood pressure is less than 90/60mmHg

  • Your pulse rate is above or equal to 100 beats per minute

  • Your pulse rate is under 60 beats per minute.

If you have a medical condition or are on regular medication, find out your recommended blood pressure range from your Practice nurse or GP.

Find information about BMI and how to calculate it on NHS.UK.

Blood tests

These blood tests are the basic set of tests you can have to as part of your MOT for good mental and physical health.

If you are experiencing persistent tiredness, low mood or low energy your should consult a healthcare professional such as a GP.