Give your body a regular tune-up

February 4, 2010

Just like a high-performance sports car, the human body is a machine – a highly evolved, complex machine of interrelated parts that requires fuel, and most of all, regularly scheduled maintenance.

If not maintained regularly, the body – like all machines – can wear out and even crash.

So how long has it been sense you checked your treads, fluid levels and mileage? How does your chassis feel? Just as a car has a maintenance schedule, you should develop your own maintenance and wellness program to answer these questions. Think of it as your personal owner’s manual.

“Don’t be afraid of a little preventative care,” says Jeff Waguespack, M.D., associate professor of family and community medicine in the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and Scott & White College Station Clinic. “Annual, monthly and daily care keeps your body running smoothly and clues you in to any changes in your body that could signal distress.”

A full list of screening tests for men and women is available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services online at

“Everyone should consult with a doctor and schedule a full body checkup to set baselines for later comparison,” advises Dr. Waguespack. “Then, depending on your age, health and family history, some tests and checkups can be done more or less frequently.”

To keep your body running smooth every day, exercise at least three times a week, depending on your age and ability. Dr. Waguespack encourages 30 minutes of exercise each session to increase heart rate, get muscles working and burn calories. And just like the fuel in a car, a healthy diet is the cornerstone of daily body maintenance.

Dr. Waguespack encourages people to eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits grains and proteins to ensure proper weight and promote healthy cell growth.

“Eat smart, be physically active, cut out the tobacco and use alcohol in moderation,” he says. “Be it daily, monthly or annually, a healthy lifestyle and general preventative care are the keys to longevity and quality of life.”

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