We all know that it is common for men to skip the doctor until they become sick, injure themselves or are faced with a serious health problem. Delaying medical attention is not recommended. All men need to take control of your health, especially if you are over the age of 30. It is advised that undergo a full physical exam on a yearly basis, manage stress, make healthy food choices, and engage in physical activity regularly. These basic tips will help live healthier and take control of your health. The following men’s health tips checklist provides a foundation for beginning your health journey:
- Exercise regularly:
This health practice has enormous physical and emotional benefits. Besides reducing the risk for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis, regular exercise can be helpful in raising our general mood and reducing the risk for depression. Mix up your daily exercise routine to keep things fresh and exciting. You can vary your exercises with muscle training, yoga, brisk walking, running, cycling or swimming. Ideally, you should exercise at least 30 minutes an hour a day. Do not just be a weekend sports warrior. Get out there every day and reap the benefits living an active lifestyle.
- Eat right:
Eating a diet that is low in cholesterol, salt and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fibre can help improve your health, prevent heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. Most people start dieting and focus on restricting their calorie intake. However, they are not eating enough. The problem is when you limit your body’s nutrient intake, it starts going into conservation or starvation mode. Instead, take in more of the right calories and you will be stronger, healthier and your body will not feel deprived. Dieting is not starving; it is smart eating.
- See your doctor:
One of the best ways that men can promote good health is to have a preventive physical exam each year – regardless of age or health concerns. You should not ignore symptoms or complaints, and do not self-diagnose. Listen to your body and seek professional advise at the earliest. Be aware of any changes or signs that you notice like change in your sleep patterns, bathroom habits, cuts not healing, changes in moles or birthmarks, or if you are experiencing unexplained weight fluctuations or sexual dysfunction. Make sure you also get your blood work done at least one a year if not twice. This will help identify if your cholesterol levels are in check, as well as, vitamin D3 and vitamin B12. Get tested and see your doctor!
- Prioritise sleep:
You should get seven to eight hours of sleep each night to help your mind and body relax and rejuvenate. The time to do this is not when you are sitting on the couch watching TV. The only way to reset is with your eyes closed, comfortably sleeping in bed. Sleep deprivation can lead to extreme fatigue and libido issues. Working too much, stress or drinking too much alcohol, over stimulates the brain and affects your sleep pattern. Getting enough rest helps your body heal and rejuvenate itself.
- Know your family history:
You should be well informed about your family’s medical history because majority of the health problems in men are due to this very reason. If your dad or other family members have a history of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes or other chronic health conditions, you may be at higher risk of developing these conditions. Your doctor can help you develop an action plan to minimise those risks and increase your chances of early detection.
Your health should be your number one priority, but we often get so busy with our careers and families that we overlook it. We also think we are invincible or that we have such a good medical system that any health issue can be addressed with a pill or surgery. However, the reality is why get to the point where you need medical intervention, your health is out of your control. As fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins and friends, we need to take charge of our health; if not for our sake, then for the sake of those we love. Talk to family and friends about how they can help you integrate these tips into your everyday life.