Men can take daily steps to live safer and healthier lives and protect themselves from disease and injury. This doesn’t have to be an entire overhaul of how you go about your daily routine. There are numerous things you can do every day to improve your health and stay healthy. In recognition of Men’s Health Month, we compiled the following tips.
Have a doctor lined up. It’s very important for men to have an established primary care physician. Having regularly scheduled visits with your doctor, who can track your health as you age, can be one of the best courses of preventative care for any man.
Get preventive screenings. Talk to your doctor about when and how often to have the following screenings based on your specific risk factors, family history and age: prostate cancer screening, colon cancer screening, and bone density screening for osteoporosis.
Perform testicular self-exams regularly. Check for lumps and nodules.
Stay on top of mental health. It’s important to talk to someone or seek help if you’re stressed, anxious, feeling depressed or if you think something else might be wrong. The suicide rate among men is nearly four times higher than among women.
Strive for good sleep. Good sleep can reduce your risk for a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. Also, sufficient sleep can reduce the likelihood of getting into motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, which cause substantial injury and disability each year. Sleep guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation recommend that in general, adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Limit alcohol and quit tobacco. Men who have more than 2 drinks daily are at higher risk for certain diseases, such as cancer. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States.
Exercise regularly. Strive for both resistance training (at least 2 days per week) and cardio activities (at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity per week).
Eat balanced meals. Follow this simple rule: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, one quarter protein, and one quarter grains at each meal. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Try to steer clear of food and drinks high in calories, sugar, fat and alcohol. Choose healthy snacks.
Take care of your heart. Your doctor can help you monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors, and discuss heart-healthy lifestyle habits.
Know and understand your numbers: Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI), just to name a few. These numbers can provide a glimpse of your health status and risk for certain diseases. Be sure to ask your doctor what tests you need and how often you need them. If your numbers are high or low, he or she can explain what they mean and make recommendations to help you get them to a healthier range.
Making simple lifestyle changes such those described above can help you live a healthier life.