Do You Maintain Your Car Better Than Your Body? (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series.


  • Part 1: Are you a car buff but a health duff? The evidence may surprise you.
  • Part 2: Preventing car and health problems is eight times cheaper than fixing them.
  • Part 3: Be your own mechanic using this 16-point body tuneup

Be Your Own Mechanic: A 16-point Body Tuneup

be your own mechanic
be your own mechanic

Ok, so maybe it’s true our bodies share some similarities with cars, and we now understand that maintenance is cheaper (and smarter) than major repairs. With that in mind, here is a 16-point tuneup to maintain your body in great running condition.

  1. Check your idiot lights: Are you experiencing any warning signs about your health? Are you overweight? Tired all the time? Out of breath performing simple tasks? Extended headache? Sudden rash? If so, take the following step.
  2. See your mechanic: Have you seen your doctor in the last 3 years? Blood tests for cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, kidney and liver function, and a urinalysis will give a broad picture of general health. A physical exam by the doctor will include a review of family health history and, based on that, certain early screening tests might be considered.
  3. Read your owners manual: Following the five Basic Maintenance Steps outlined in this manual should result in years of trouble-free body operations. At the very least do an online Health Risk Assesment (registration required).
  4. Use higher octane fuel: Food is very much the most basic tool in preventive health care. At a minimum observe these nutrition basics from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
  5. Check your oil filter: Excess amounts of junk food and can cause liver damage in just one month, scientists claim. In addition to cirrhosis, 3 drinks of alcohol a day has been clearly linked to liver cancer as well.
  6. Lower your RPMs: A faster running engine wears out sooner. Manage your stress levels by sleeping better and moving more frequently. Consider meditation or a yoga class.
  7. Clean out your garage: You can’t eat what you don’t have. Audit your pantry for unhealthy foods and consider donating them to a food bank. If stress-eating is an issue, consider these 33 countermeasures.
  8. Fuel additives: The best source of essential nutrients is from natural foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Counter to the decades-old conventional wisdom, massive amounts of research demonstrate that supplemental vitamins are not required.
  9. check your air filter
    check your air filter

    Check your air filter: However bad you thought smoking was, it’s even worse. In addition to the well-known hazards of lung cancer, artery disease, heart attacks, chronic lung disease and stroke, the latest research finds that smoking is linked to significantly increased risks of infection, kidney disease, intestinal disease caused by inadequate blood flow, and heart and lung ailments not previously attributed to tobacco. The jury is still out on e-cigarettes.

  10. Take off the parking brake: Too much sitting (as distinct from too little exercise) has been linked to increased premature mortality risk. Take a 5–10 standing or walking break for every 60 minutes of TV viewing, computer and game-console use, workplace sitting, or time spent in automobiles.
  11. Timing belt replacement: The most common excuse for not exercising? “No time”. New research revealed on a BBC TV Horizon programme, suggests it is possible to improve some measures of fitness with just 3 minutes of exercise a week. Consider shifting your mindset and habits plus High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
  12. Check your coolant system: Water assists your circulatory functions. It alleviates fluid retention and converts fat into energy. It also helps rid the body of toxins and waste, and increases energy levels. Optimal body hydration is a surprisingly complex topic. But a comprehensive review of research papers does indicate that even mild dehydration of 2–2.6% can impair physical and mental performance.[2]
  13. Put your transmission in Drive: Training for a 5K run, a charity walkathon, or an office weight loss challenge is a great way to boost your motivation and keep focused fitness. Surprisingly, 30 minutes a day of exercise is more beneficial than 60 minutes a day for weight loss accord to this WebMD study.
  14. Check and rotate your tires: Running shoes can wear out in 300–500 miles (5 months for average runners) and increase your risk of overuse injuries. Check this guide to see if you are due for a new pair.

In Part 1 of this series, I look at why certain types of people maintain their cars better than their health. In Part 2 of this series, I look on the return on investment of repair versus maintenance for your body and car.


  1. Do You Read Fast Enough To Be Successful?, Forbes
  2. AMA Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition reviews. 2010;68(8):439–458. doi:10.1111/j.1753–4887.2010.00304.x.

photo credits: Grandpa via freeimages (license), Body Shop via photopin (license), Dave Wild pic via flickr Creative Commons (license).

Jeff Popoff

View posts by Jeff Popoff
Jeff served as a senior executive at Fortune 500 company and multiple Silicon Valley startups. He is a LinkedIn Top 25 Executive Health Coach and a Strength & Conditioning Trainer at the San Carlos Fitness Center. You can find out how to lead strong and lead longer at The Healthy Executive. image


  1. Zak HinesJuly 17, 2015

    Really loved this 3 part series of articles! The idea of taking better care of your health by discussing it like you would a car was brilliant and entertaining. It made me want to learn more about my health and take a closer look at some of my life choices to take better care of myself. Will definitely recommend that others read these articles!

  2. Jeff PopoffJuly 17, 2015

    Hi Zak – thank you for your kind feedback and for recommending the article to others. I appreciate it!

    If you have any ideas or suggestions on ways to motivate men to take more interest in their health let me know. I would love to write specific posts on those themes.

    Kind Regards,
    (aka The Healthy Executive)

  3. TyrusJuly 21, 2015

    I enjoyed reading your articles. This was a great ending to this series. I liked the comparisons and how you broke up the things a person needs to do to have a healthier body in steps. It makes what you are saying easier to read and comprehend.

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