Benjamin Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And he was right. Today we’re going to get a little more serious and talk about some common diseases and how simply changing your lifestyle choices can help you live a longer and healthier life going in to the New Year.
The best way to ensure a long and healthy life isn’t to find cures for diseases, but to avoid disease all together. Sometimes you can do all the right things and still get sick, we know. However, the majority of chronic diseases can be prevented with simple lifestyle modifications and careful management in the early stages.
Thanks to the marvel of modern medicine, dozens of diseases that were once considered life threatening are now largely preventable. While you no longer have to worry about polio or smallpox, things like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer still loom over us. So, until there are vaccines to prevent them, here are some measures you can take to prevent them through a healthy lifestyle.
A leading cause of death in adults, heart disease encompasses heart attacks, strokes, coronary artery disease, heart defects and arrhythmias. This isn’t a beast everyone needs to fear, luckily, especially if you lead an active and healthy lifestyle. A person who sits around all day, eats junk food, smokes and is overweight is at a greater risk for heart and circulatory problems.
An important part of maintaining heart health is keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure at safe levels, so get them checked regularly and take the necessary steps to lower your levels.
The good news when it comes to exercise and lowering your blood pressure is that anything works! The goal is to incorporate physical activity into your daily life so your heart has to work harder and your breathing increases. An active lifestyle keeps your circulatory system healthy, keeps your weight in check and reduces stress, all of which lowers your blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy.
Be careful, however. If you have an existing condition you need to be extra cautious when it comes to completing workouts.
If you have a family history of diabetes or are considered overweight, diabetes prevention should be high on your list of priorities. The vast majority of those with type 2 diabetes (a whopping 80%) are overweight.
In order to prevent or delay an onset of diabetes you need to maintain a healthy weight or lose any excess weight you may be carrying around. Losing just 5-7% of your body weight can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes by 60%.
Diet and exercise are key parts of diabetes prevention. Physical activity helps you lose weight, lowers you blood sugar and makes your body more sensitive to insulin, which helps control blood sugar. Doing 30 minutes a day of some sort of activity that gets your heart pumping is all you really need. Additionally, eating a balanced diet that’s high in fiber and whole grains aids in weight loss and improves blood sugar. You can always check out our recipe section for some meal prep ideas.
Smoking is the primary cause of 90% of lung cancer related deaths. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic and 70 of which are known carcinogens. The longer a person smokes and the more cigarettes smoked, the greater the risk of lung cancer as well as cancer of the mouth, throat, nose, larynx, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, colon, blood and bone.
Even if you’ve been smoking for years, you can quit now and greatly reduce your risk of cancer. After 15 years, your risk will be the same as a nonsmoker. And remember, breathing secondhand smoke can have the same harmful effects as smoking. So, if you absolutely must, smoke outside and never in the home or car where other people are or will be present.
You have to be cautious when putting exercise into your routine as a smoker, as your lungs are not working at full capacity when inhaling the chemicals found in cigarettes. It’s very important for a current or former smoker to have some form of physical activity in their daily life, however. Whether it’s going for a walk or doing light exercises, something that gets blood circulating will help with the healing process. And, breathing properly will help promote healthy lungs as well and help prevent irritation during exercises.
The harsh truth is that heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all very real threats to all of us, and we need to remain vigilant. By following a healthy lifestyle and regularly getting checked by the doctor, we can help prevent and lower our chances of these diseases making their way into our lives.
If you’re ready to make a lifestyle change that will put you on the road to a long and healthy life, visit fitbodybootcamp.com to find a location near you. We’re here and we’re ready to get you where you want to be.