Every June is Men’s Health Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of health care for men. On average, men die five years younger than women and die at higher rates from most of the top 10 causes of death. Men are also less likely to be insured than women, limiting their ability to receive quality medical care.
Below are four ways that men can keep themselves in good health all year round. Just a few simple changes can make all the difference in adding quality years onto a man’s life.
1. Get a Yearly Physical and Screenings
Many of the health issues that contribute to a shorter lifespan are preventable. This is why an annual physical is essential to good health. During this exam, the doctor can set a baseline for blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and PSA (a screening tool for prostate cancer).
You can also be screened for mental health issues like depression, anxiety and substance abuse during these visits. The doctor will recommend the appropriate screenings you need based on your age, family history and other factors. For example, most men need a colonoscopy by age 50.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Weight
Those late night taco runs catch up fast! If you want to feel good and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, you’ll need to follow a healthy diet. Start eating more fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Avoid processed foods, as well as foods that are high in trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars.
If you need to lose weight, talk to your doctor about a healthy workout plan you can follow. Once you shed the pounds, keep up with the activity, but know that you can maintain this weight simply by eating the right foods. Your diet influences your weight more than exercise.
3. Lead an Active Lifestyle
Even though exercise won’t help you lose much weight if your eating is out of whack, it’s still important to lead an active lifestyle. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your heart and body strong. Aim for 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise most days of the week. You can bike, run, swim, lift weights, etc. Find something you enjoy and stick with it.
Benefits to being physically active include:
- Reduce your risk for heart disease
- Manage blood sugar and insulin levels
- Improve mood and mental health
- Strengthen bones and muscles
4. Manage Stress Levels
Stress affects men just as it does women, but the signs may be less noticeable. Instead of having emotional and physical symptoms, you may notice behavioral changes such as skipping meals, eating unhealthy foods and having trouble sleeping.
Unfortunately, when you combine these unhealthy habits with the physical effects of stress, it can take a toll on your body. Make sure you manage your stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques, exercising daily, eating healthy meals, spending time with friends and family and reducing your caffeine intake.
While June is Men’s Health Month, these healthy practices should be followed throughout the year. They are simple steps to living a longer, happier and healthier life.