You take your car in for oil changes, new tires and other maintenance. Why wouldn’t you pay the same attention to your body?
There are many ways you can maintain your health, says Dr. G. Edward Mallory, a board-certified physician who has been practicing emergency medicine for more than 20 years and serves as an expert witness in medical malpractice cases.
One of the most important tools is exercise, he says. Some experts recommend 20 minutes a day; some say 20 minutes, three days a week, which Dr. Mallory suggests as a minimum. If you can exercise daily, even better. Proper maintenance of your body has to include exercise.
Also see your body’s mechanic — that is, your doctor — on a regular basis. If you’re young and healthy, once a year should be fine. If you have any ongoing issues with blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol or other conditions, you may want to see a doctor every three to six months.
A proper diet is key to maintaining your body’s health. If in doubt, ask your doctor the best strategy for maintaining or lowering your weight. Being overweight or obese can lead to serious problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Mallory suggests that everyone should keep track of their cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood. And don’t smoke.
Get regular physicals and tests as recommended by your doctor and the experts. How often you should get certain tests may depend on whether you have a family history of certain conditions, from psychiatric issues to cancer to high cholesterol.
Medical organizations often have different recommendations on how early and often to be screened for certain diseases. But among the tests you should have on your radar are mammograms and Pap smears for women, prostate checks for men, and colonoscopies.
Discuss your options with your doctor to keep your body humming along in the best health possible.