Start doing this today to lower your risk range
When I hit 30, many people told me how much of a decline I should expect regarding body composition and health. It never occurred to me that my health would ever decline because I hold the key to better health in my pocket — and so do you. The problem is that everyone knows what they should do — but very few people do it — or gather more awareness when disease or some health issue begins to impact their life. I see this as a normal reaction because we want to live life on our terms — no restrictions or consequences resulting from our decisions. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how life turns out. We are each responsible for the decisions we make regarding the food we eat and the amount of exercise we perform daily. I try hard not to lecture people about this — because many individuals complain about how bad their health is. However, I can’t help but point the finger in their direction! What startles me is that perhaps they believe the trigger towards better health for them is in their doctor’s hands. Big “HELL NO!” During my mother’s long road through cancer and death, I have seen with my own eyes the devastation that can occur when people don’t take full responsibility for their health. As I paced the hospital floors with mum, I developed friendships with people who came in with some life in them and had the energy and blood taken out of their bodies throughcancer treatment. Most of them were unrecognisable in a matter of months. So, yes, I spent six months in and out of that hospital and saw many people come and go. It gave me the most prominent wake-up call — that this can happen to anyone and at any age, but I’m doing to give it my best shot and not let it become my destiny! We have to take charge with that kind of attitude, and perhaps it’s easier for me to say and do something about my health due to the devastation I’ve experienced. But, on the other hand, perhaps your intention may be to live longer for your family or some other higher purpose. Only you can decide this. Age is no limitation or inhibitor — you can start now. Sadly, any activity we did as a younger individuals seems to decline as we hit 30, perhaps to an even greater extent moving forward. Weight might also climb, and our health can deteriorate as a result. Researchers wanted to quantify the changing contribution to a woman’s likelihood of developing heart disease. The top risk factors are:
- Higher body mass index
- High blood pressure
- Excess weight
- Physical inactivity
Heart disease happens to be the leading cause of death in high-income countries. So those attributes above are what triggers the onset of development. Researchers tracked over 32 thousand women participating in the Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health until 2006. They found that smoking decreased from 28% in women between 22 and 27 and 5% for 73 and 78. But unfortunately, the presence of inactivity and high blood pressure increased across the lifespan of women between the ages of 22 and 90. In addition, weight gain increased from age 22 to 64 and declined in older age. Up to 30, smoking was the most important contributor to heart disease. But from age 30 until 80, low physical activity levels were responsible for higher population risk levels than any other risk factor. It’s pretty scary data. Researchers then concluded the study with this relevant assumption: everyone should pay close attention. If every woman between the ages of 30 and 90 could do just 150 minutes of low-impact exercise every single week could save the lives of more than 2000 middle-aged women each year in Australia alone. That’s a tiny 21–22 minutes of exercise seven days a week! Indeed, we can all spend a small amount of time on exercise — and if we turn the TV off and eliminate smoking, we could do even more! With that small change with a healthy diet, you have a lot to gain in terms of health, diminishing your chance of many diseases that are killing more people now than at any other time in history. If you have a family history of heart disease, you should be extra vigilant about your dietary and exercise decisions. A higher emphasis on the importance of activity for all women, especially those in the earlier stages of adulthood, should not be dismissed. Schools need to create more impact by exposing this data to all young people now, so they can make better food and exercise choices immediately — instead of waiting until they are older to intervene.
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