Monday, October 27, 2008

Preventative Health

By Courtney Westlake

As most of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one of the things women are encouraged to do during this month is to get annual mammograms, which also serves as a reminder to regularly get necessary health screenings and be proactive when it comes to preventative health.

What is preventative health?

"Preventative health is maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle in order to prevent diseases and ailments," said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs for the TRAC.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is be proactive, Jillson said, which means taking small actions and steps to prevent diseases, ailments and other health problems. The responsibility to maintain a healthy lifestyle lies within ourselves.

"You want to make sure you have a healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle plan," she said. "Taking these steps will definitely contribute to helping prevent health problems."

Simply getting regular exercise and eating healthily will greatly contribute to overall health and wellness.

"Five things I personally like to live by are eating healthy, exercising, wearing sunscreen, taking a daily multivitamin and getting enough omega-3 fatty acid," Jillson said. "Be sure to get enough fruits and vegetables and enough exercise throughout the week."

Strive to get your heart rate up at different times throughout the day, even if you are simply climbing the stairs or taking a walk, Jillson said. Jillson also recommended using weights or resistance for strength training a couple of times a week.

"I would recommend three to five days of exercise for 30 to 60 minutes," she said. "That could be ten minutes in the morning, ten minutes in the evening, maybe walking between classes or on your lunch hour. It all counts, and it all adds up."

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your body and a huge aspect of preventative health.

"Exercise is important for the body because it helps with weight management, helps to get free radicals or toxins out of the body through sweat and maintains a healthy and strong heart," Jillson said.