Friday, July 27, 2012

Beating Genetics

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, it probably wouldn't come as a surprise to you that I'm a vain person.  I freely admit it and am unapologetic about it.

But even though appearances are important to me,
one of the bigger reasons why I really started changing my lifestyle is for my health.

I come from a long line of naturally large people - or, as I like to call them, winners in the survival game. We absorb every single nutrient we consume and we're good at storing them for possible famines, which thankfully, haven't befallen us.

But like Frank Bruni, I was born round. If I go about my life normally and don't make a special effort to get physical activity, and I eat just enough to be full, I would be round and soft. It's my natural state. (Living in the suburbs where I have to drive to get anywhere also doesn't help.)

Unfortunately, higher blood pressure is also my natural state, because both my parents struggle with that and are on medication for it. I think I have at least one grandmother who also has this problem. While I've never had dangerously high blood pressure, it was always borderline, and my cardiac health was always kind of weak. Even when I was a small child, I had a lot of difficulty running cross-country, or doing anything that required any kind of endurance. I remember being 6 years old and being unable to last much more than a few minutes jogging at a moderate pace.

Seeing that heart disease is the #1 killer in North America, this is just not something I want to deal with. I've got lots of places to go and things to do. Fortunately for me, this issue is something I can actively improve if I'd just put the effort into it, which is wonderful because the same can't be said for lots of other genetic conditions.

So doing cardio and building up my endurance has been a very important and key element in my lifestyle change. I'm not about to compete in a marathon, but I can now jog at about 6mph (or about 9.65km/h) nonstop for 1 hour, which is a huge accomplishment for me.

On top of that, I take my blood pressure before most workouts and lately, I've been in the optimal range quite a lot! For a while, my blood pressure was decent but my resting heart rate was kind of high - now, I sometimes have it in a good range too, like the stats in the picture above, which was taken the day before yesterday. :)

Needless to say, I'm really happy with my progress, I'm really glad that I decided to take this route, and that this really is one of the best things I've ever done for myself! As always, I wish you guys well too, and I encourage you to adopt at least one habit now that would improve your health.

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