You are never too young to start thinking about your future health.
I’m passionate about encouraging people to give their health the necessary attention it needs — no matter what age. been through a couple of devastating deaths in my family — and I know how vital a healthy lifestyle is if you want to lead a disease-free life. My dad was a smoker, and he also loved to drink. Although his diet wasn’t that bad, the overindulgence in processed meats didn’t work well with his smoking habit. Unfortunately, he passed away relatively young from cancer. He was in his mid 60’s. On the other hand, mum developed diabetes, which led to pancreatic cancer. Mum’s food choices were not ideal for a significant number of years. I spent a long time trying to convince mum to start eating better — and it wasn’t until she developed diabetes that she listened. After her weight loss, that’s when the symptoms began to appear. My mum watched me take my first breath when I was born, and I was blessed to see her take her last. She made it to 83. Although the journey we took together was one of pain and hardship — it was a real wake-up call for me, and here I am bringing this story to you. It doesn’t matter whether it’s cancer, diabetes or dementia — these are all instances that can occur at any age. Sometimes, no matter what we do health-wise, it can take us by surprise. But why leave it up to chance? If you can take control and do something now, and it’s in your power and right, why not help your body? A study conducted with 191 women, age 50, took a bicycle test until they were exhausted to measure their fitness capacity. About 40 women met the criterion for high fitness levels, 92 were in mid-range, and 59 were in a low fitness category. Some women had to stop on the lower end of the fitness scale because of high blood pressure, chest pain, or other cardiovascular problems. During the next 44 years, these women were tested for dementia about six times. During that timeframe, 44 women developed dementia. Only 5 per cent of the fit women developed dementia, as opposed to 25 per cent of moderately fit and 32 per cent of those in the low-end fitness range. The highly fit women in this study were 88 per cent more likely to develop dementia than the moderately fit women! On a surprising note, back to those women who had to stop exercising because of various issues, 45 per cent of those women developed dementia decades later! That is a HUGE number! Helena Hörder, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden, the study author, mentions this:
“This indicates that the negative cardiovascular processes may be happening in midlife that could increase the risk of dementia much later.”
Key take away
It does pay to keep fit! You can start where you are and develop a very achievable fitness regime no matter what age. The fitter you are, the better. There is a minimal risk you will develop the disease. The bonus is that you will enjoy your life more because of the energy and vitality that a healthy lifestyle produces. As I mentioned, nothing is guaranteed, but the intention I set here is to get you off the chair and couch to do something you enjoy. You don’t have to do anything drastic, but push yourself a little more as you get better. Challenge yourself every step of the way to beat exercise boredom. It’s not only great for your self-esteem but also great for your health. Please check out this research paper here if you want to look further at the above study.
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