Researchers at Texas A&M are in the process of searching for the specific genes in humans that leave us susceptible to chronic disease as we age. While the research is ongoing, some scary findings are already beginning to rear their ugly heads. “We are starting to see early signs of atherosclerosis or heart disease in teens,” cautions John Lawler, professor and director of the Redox Biology and Cell Signaling Lab. "We are predisposing ourselves to more children with chronic diseases that may also drive up health care costs. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Why is this the case? Two words: Diet and Inactivity. In an earlier article, I referenced The 80/20 Rule, which was created by the National Institute of Health. This rule states that WE are 80% responsible for the chronic diseases and conditions we experience throughout our lifetimes, leaving only 20% of responsibility to our genetics. If a child is raised to 'sit on the couch eating bon-bons and talking shit' (shout-out to CT Fletcher for that) rather than being active, we're not putting them in the best situation to be health; both now and later in life. According to Christopher Woodman, associate professor and research contributor at Texas A&M, "What our research reveals is those who exercise regularly over a lifetime can extend the age at which cardiovascular health begins to decline."
Remember the 3 Keys to Leading a Healthy Life: Diet, Exercise and Sleep. While I've talked ad nauseum about diet in earlier blog posts, my livelihood is made primarily off of assisting individuals looking to exercise and get fit. The title of this article pertains to both your cardiovascular and your musculoskeletal systems; If you're not active, you're not working these systems adequately, and thus your inevitable decline and susceptability to chronic conditions and diseases increases exponentially. Not sure if this is accurate? Says Woodman: "“Exercise is the best medicine. If you aren’t exercising – start. If you think you’re too old – you’re not. It’s never too late to start exercising. The benefits are too numerous to count.” Lawler adds, "We have the genes of hunter-gatherers, and that really hasn’t changed much in 40-100,000 thousand years. So, it means that nearly every day, we should be active.”
To come full-circle, we haven't evolved very much (if at all) from a genetic standpoint in quite a long time as a species. While our ancestors didn't have the medicinal knowledge and technology that we have today, it's important to stay true to our roots if we want to remain healthy. Remember to get 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day (30 if it's vigorous exercise), and to eat meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.
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