Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. What can you do to gain the benefits of prevention?
Paul Erwin, professor and department head of public health in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers five suggestions that may help you live a longer, healthier life.
Keep up with clinical prevention. Stay up to date on immunizations, screening exams for specific types of cancer (e.g., colorectal cancer screening for men and women, and breast and cervical cancer screening for women), and screening blood tests for conditions such as diabetes and HIV.
Be physically active. Current recommendations call for 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). If you are not into running, swimming or yoga, try mowing the lawn with a push mower rather than a riding lawn mower. Park at the far end of the parking lot rather than the spot closest to the door. Take the stairs up to the second floor rather than riding the elevator.
Achieve good nutrition. Eating well can be both enjoyable and affordable, but it requires a level of thoughtfulness about foods of all types. What we eat is much more important than how much we eat. Be mindful about what you eat.
Stay tobacco-free. This is the most important preventable cause of early disease and death. Model this good behavior for family, friends and co-workers. If you currently use tobacco, make an effort to quit.
Pursue balance. Practice and pursue harmony and balance in life — between work and play, between rest (sleep is important!) and activity, and across the spectrum of mind, body and spirit.