Men’s Health Month: Simple Rules for a Happier, Healthier Life
As we near the end of National Men’s Health Month, it is important for men to be aware of the unique health risks they face and to be proactive when it comes to preventative treatment. In general, men are 100% less likely than women to seek preventative health care and often wait until a problem becomes serious before seeking medical attention.
These factors, combined with the normal health risks faced by men, ultimately lead to men having shorter lifespans than women. Let’s use Men’s Health Month as a reminder that all men need to take their health seriously. Here are some simple rules to live by to lead a happier, healthier life:
- Exercise regularly. Exercise has a slew of health benefits besides just toning up those biceps. It has been proven to fight heart disease and high blood pressure as well as improve your mood and boost energy. Additional benefits include lower stress, better sleep, improved sex life, better memory, and the prevention of strokes, arthritis, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
- Watch your weight. More than one-third of US adults are obese, and the medical costs of people who are obese average $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. Conditions associated with obesity such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 Diabetes are among the leading causes of preventable death.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. While we all enjoy drinking a frosty brew on a hot summer day, men 40 and older should have no more than two drinks a day. The good news is that there are benefits from moderate drinking for heart health – stick to a 12-oz. beer, a 5-oz. glass of wine, or 1.5-oz. of hard liquor.
- Limit sun exposure. Playing golf or doing yard work this summer? When possible, avoid outdoor activities during midday, when the sun’s rays are the strongest. The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma, the leading cause of death from skin cancer, are white men over age 50.
- Get tested often. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are both conditions that do not manifest any serious symptoms until they become serious problems. Also, colon and prostate cancer can be detected during curable stages with testing. Scheduling regular health screenings will help you stay on top of your health and be aware of any potential problems you may have.
- Eat healthy. Diet is a huge factor in overall health. Rather than cutting back on fats and carbs in general, increase healthy fats and carbs such as Omega-3 fatty acids and whole grains while decreasing bad fats and carbs like saturated fats and highly processed grains.
While these steps will not guarantee a man’s health for his entire life, they will go a long way to prevent or reverse the many negative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. The key word is prevention, and many men, unfortunately, wait until it is too late to do something about a health concern. Men, take control of your health and start living better today!