levels. Exercising also improves mood and reduces stress. Only thirty minutes a
day, five days a week, of moderate exercise is recommended for adults. Children
and adolescents should have an hour a day of physical activity. Living in sunny
southern California is perfect for outdoor activities, just remember to apply
sunscreen with SPF greater than 15, wear a hat and sunglasses.
Poor sleep health is a problem that affects a third of American
adults. Good quality sleep is necessary to support endocrine, metabolic and
neurological functions and not getting enough shut-eye, increases our risks of
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and obesity. It is recommended
that adults have 7-8 hours per night of quality sleep, i.e. feeling rested. Pediatric
recommendations per 24hours: teen8-10hours, school age9-12hours, preschool
10-13 hours, toddler 11-14 hours, infant 12-16 hours, newborn 14-17 hours.
6. Don’t Smoke.
Cigarette smoking greatly increases your danger of developing
of heart disease and cancer. Smoking causes reduced circulation and swelling
of the arteries. If you do smoke, quit today! One year after you quit smoking,
your risk for heart disease is cut in half! Your doctor can suggest ways to help
7. Limit Alcohol Use.
Excessive alcohol use raises your blood pressure and
can lead to health hazards including injuries, violence, mental health problems,
memory problems, liver and heart diseases as well as many types of cancers.
Men should have no more than two drinks per day and women only one.
8. Germ and Virus Precautions.
Keeping your hands clean is one of the best
ways to keep from getting sick and spreading illnesses. Washing with soap and
water, using hand sanitizers, and disinfecting surfaces will kill germs and viruses
in addition to minimizing allergy triggers. Immunizations are also important to
prevent communicable diseases such as measles, whooping cough, hepatitis
9. Health Check-Up.
Though it may seem unnecessary to see a doctor unless
you are sick or experiencing symptoms, it’s a good idea to get a yearly
preventive health exam. Regular check-ups and screenings help to identify risk
factors for common chronic diseases, detect disease that show no apparent
symptoms, discuss preventative behaviors, update clinical data and enhance
the relationship between you and your doctor. Healthcare.gov is a resource
to find information about recommended tests and screenings for every age
Practicing healthy living habits, just like good car maintenance will make the difference between being the
proud owner of a good looking, long lasting, reliable machine, and saying goodbye to a rusty, faded-paint jalopy
that fell apart or broke down long before it was designed to. The secret is following your body’s maintenance
manual and adding to Erasmus’ philosophy written by Benjamin Franklin “An ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure. It’s more prudent to head off a disaster beforehand than to deal with it after it occurs.”
Karl Gebhard, MD, MS, is Board Certified in Family Medicine and has been practicing for over 15
years. Dr. Gebhard also has a Master of Science in Nutrition. He currently practices at Ross Legacy
Medical Group in Mission Viejo, California.