Your health is one of the most important assets that you can own. However, it’s not only important to you, it’s also important to your family.
Do you know what health risks run in your family? What do you and your family do to stay healthy? Let’s review some aspects of our lives that affect the health of us and our families.
We inherit our DNA from our parents, who inherited it from their parents, and so on. There’s no way to control what genes or specific genetic traits are handed down through the generations but with today’s technology, there are ways to be informed about what is hiding in your DNA with relatively easy and affordable testing.
Last week, we reviewed three DNA companies that are analyzing DNA for medical purposes. These tests provide information embedded in a person’s DNA so they can be aware of what diseases, disorders and specific family traits they may have or could pass on.
- Certain cancers
- Inherited high cholesterol
As technology improves, so will these tests and the spectrum of things they can detect.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Diet is just as important as exercise and they often go hand-in-hand. Watching what you eat is important for many reasons.
Genetic Dietary Requirements
Genetics can show that certain people are pre-dispositioned for diabetes, high cholesterol and other genetic traits and disorders that make their body react in specific ways to certain dietary items. If a person is pre-dispositioned for diabetes, they would likely require a diet that is low in sugar and carbs.
If a person is pre-dispositioned for high cholesterol, they typically need to stay away from foods high in cholesterol, sodium, and fat.
It’s important to know about your family history so you know if certain diseases and disorders are common so you know the best way to manage your diet.
What exactly is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that the body needs certain amounts of to process food and certain vitamins. However, too much is bad for the heart and can cause heart disease that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
Weight is a common problem with dieting. Everyone is different so it can be difficult to determine a person’s specific dietary needs. Maintaining a healthy weight is extremely important when trying to prevent specific diseases and illnesses that can be contributed to a poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight.
Achieving an ideal weight can be a tough road but there are many resources available to help a person lose unwanted weight. Don’t do it just for you, make it a family thing and be sure to make it fun!
Exercise is another component to being healthy. The body needs to move in order to maintain a healthy weight. One pound of muscle is leaner (takes up less mass) than one pound of fat. Muscle will also burn more calories at rest than fat. Muscle good, fat bad.
How do you gain muscle?
- Lift weights. It doesn’t have to be a lot and a person doesn’t have to spend hours at the gym. Consult a gym professional to see what programs might work the best.
- Running, biking, hiking, swimming. Start participating in drop-in exercise classes such as basketball, baseball, racquetball, tennis. Basically, just be active. There are many programs that encourage and help a person to be active. Check out a program such as Couch to 5k that coaches participants to build endurance to run a 5k (3.1 miles). 3.1 miles might sound like a lot, but if a person works up to it, it isn’t that daunting. Don’t like running? Try biking or swimming. These activities are just as fun and better for the joints.
- Eat foods rich in protein such as chicken, beans, peanuts, cottage cheese, avocados, etc.
Exercise can be fun! There are many fitness classes such as martial arts, ZUMBA®, Les Mills Body Pump™ that can be a family activity that can be done together. Search for such classes in your area and go try it out together.
Mental Health can be a huge challenge and over the past few years, it has caught the attention of many health professionals.
You can’t always tell by looking at a person if they are depressed, experiencing anxiety, PSTD or something else related to their mental health. Sometimes, the signs are there in the form of substance abuse.
There are many things a person can do for themselves if they are experiencing a mental health issue such as seeking help from a trained psychologist or therapist. If you know a family member that needs help, talk to them and encourage them to seek help.
Left untreated, a person often gets works and the consequences can be dire. Don’t let yourself or family members suffer in silence.
Things to Remember
- Always seek professional help before starting any diet or exercise program. Together, you and your doctor health consultant can create the best plan for you as well as your family to become healthier.
- Little eyes may always be watching. Do you have children or grandchildren that view you as a role model? If you lead an active and healthy lifestyle, it will encourage them to follow in your footsteps.
- Being healthy can be fun! Don’t treat healthy eating and exercise as a chore. Find activities you enjoy and don’t be afraid to try new foods.
The healthier you are, the longer you will be around to see your children and grandchildren grow up. Be healthy for you and for them.