Commentary by Farooq Iqtidar, MD, FACC, FSCAI, at IU Health Saxony Hospital
Most dads aren’t exactly known for spending a lot of time worrying about their own health, let alone seeking advice from a professional on how to stay healthy. As an interventional cardiologist at IU Health Saxony Hospital and the father of a 5- and 7-year-old, even I struggle to balance my health with the responsibilities of my career and family. However, the thought of being around for my children as they experience lifelong milestones helps me prioritize my health.
Dads, during Father’s Day and National Men’s Health Awareness Week this week, it’s only fitting to make sure you stay healthy. Here are some ways to do that.
Be active together. It’s hard to balance fitness and family time, so why not combine them? I enjoy running and have found my children can keep up while riding their scooters. My children both enjoy soccer and swimming, so my wife and I make time to enjoy those activities with them. Whatever you enjoy, try to include at least one hour of cardio-based activity into your daily routine. Several chronic illnesses can be avoided by simply staying active.
Get regular screenings and tests. Don’t neglect or put off those yearly appointments. With regular exams, your doctor can understand your overall health and reduce your chances for a variety of conditions.
Know your risk factors and minimize them. Learning about your genetic and family history is important to prevent future health issues, and to address and minimize the risk factors you can control such as smoking, alcohol usage, inadequate sleep, blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Learn how to manage stress. You probably can’t change what’s causing you stress, but you can change your response to it.
Before exercising, talk with your doctor about a fitness plan that works for you, and if you feel symptoms of chest pain while exercising, do not ignore them. My team of cardiovascular specialists at IU Health Saxony Hospital is happy to meet with you and answer any questions you may have. By making the right choices, we are not only improving our future but also securing our children’s.