By DEANNE WEAVER, guest columnist

Are you more likely to hike the Appalachian Trail in your senior years or become a regular in your doctor’s office?

A fitness-world axiom says our longevity is 80 percent genetics and 20 percent lifestyle, and our quality of life is 80 percent lifestyle and 20 percent genetics.

It may be too late to change your DNA, but it’s never too late to make improvements in your daily habits so that the years that you live are active and as disease- and pain-free as possible.

Eating certain foods, avoiding other foods and being very active are the three keys to maintaining overall health.


Take this quiz to find out if your habits promote or sabotage your health. Give yourself one point for each of these actions that you took yesterday:

  • Ate a serving of green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, lettuce, etc.)
  • Ate a serving of fish or chicken
  • Ate a handful of nuts
  • Exercised at least 30 minutes
  • Slept at least seven hours
  • Ate a citrus fruit
  • Had some olive oil
  • Flossed your teeth
  • Ate a blue or purple fruit or vegetable
  • Ate a whole grain product (oats, wheat, quinoa, etc.)
  • Ate a home-cooked meal with a family member
  • Did a mind/body exercise (yoga, Pilates, etc.) or meditated
  • Wore your seat belt in the car
  • Drank about eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid (not including alcohol)
  • Rode a bike
  • Went to green space, such as a park or trail
  • Hugged one person
  • Ate at least a half cup of berries
  • Volunteered


Now take away one point for each of the following things that you did yesterday:

  • Watched more than two hours of TV or computer
  • Drank a soft drink, even with artificial sweetners
  • Ate canned soup that was not low-sodium
  • Sat for longer than two hours without getting up at a desk, couch or in a car
  • Ate a meal out
  • Stayed inside except to walk to your car or another building
  • Ate a serving of processed meat (sausage, bacon, lunch meat, etc.)
  • Intentionally parked as close as you could to your destination
  • Tanned in a tanning bed or in the sun
  • Drank more than two alcoholic drinks if you are a man or one alcoholic drink if you’re a woman



So where do you stand?

19 points: Perfection! You are taking charge of your health.

10-18 points: You are on the right track, but you can do more. If unhealthy habits brought down your score, set a goal of reducing them little by little. Enlist a buddy for support as you change to a healthier lifestyle.

0-9 points: You have some work to do. Set a goal to add one new healthy habit at a time until it becomes part of your routine. Include your family in these changes so they benefit too.

Less than zero? It’s not too late to begin, but time is of the essence. So get serious about switching out those bad habits like it’s your job! Remember, your quality of life depends on it.

DeAnne Weaver is an American College of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer and fitness instructor at the Brown County Y. Her other “gym” is Brown County State Park, where she enjoys running, mountain biking and hiking. She can be reached at