Professional boxer Laila Ali shares the importance of maintaining your health and gives advice to those looking to prevent serious health issues.
Has preventative health always been important to you?
I became passionate about encouraging people to take control of their health once I learned that people often become sick from unhealthy lifestyle choices. Many times, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other illnesses can be prevented by eating nutritious, unprocessed foods and getting adequate amounts of exercise. I want to help others empower themselves as well.
You have a platform that shares the importance of keeping everyone, no matter how young or old, very healthy — was this your experience as a young child?
I grew up in a household with a father who was an athlete, and my mother always ate healthy and exercised regularly. I feel it’s important to teach kids while they are young what healthy real food is and where it comes from. They need to know how to respect their bodies and why it’s important to take care of themselves. For adults, it’s never too late to start making healthier choices no matter how old you are. I would hate to live a lifetime of regret because I didn’t take better care of myself.
Can you describe the mission of your campaign?
The “Think About Your Eyes” campaign is all about encouraging families to go get annual comprehensive eye exams. Unfortunately, our eyes are not something we think about regularly. But if you have health conditions such as diabetes, it is even more important that you schedule your annual eye exams.
What are 3 simple ways readers can ensure they take preventative health measures to avoid health issues such as diabetes?
- Change the way you eat. Reduce the amount of processed foods and eat more fresh plant-based foods and lean proteins. Reduce carbohydrates that turn in to sugar. Let go of juices and sodas that have empty calories and drink more water instead.
- Get some exercise. Get moving by walking 10 to 15 minutes three times a day if you aren’t ready to commit to a full-on workout regimen. Remember, taking small steps in the right direction is better than not making any effort at all.
- Get rid of excess weight that slows you down and keeps you from being the best version of yourself. Once you start exercising and eating right, it will happen.