Let’s face it, as men we probably work too much, don’t eat that healthy, have a lot of stress and probably don’t go to the doctor as often as we should. Does this sound familiar? Well, the good news is each year in June we get a wake-up call. Yes, it’s Men’s Health Week. A time when the media like the internet, TV and radio give us a gentle reminder to take a moment and do a self assessment of our health. So, in the spirit of the week-long event, let’s run down a few key items we as men can do to improve our health.
See The Doctor
Are you one of those guys who refuses to ever go to the doctor? You’ll just tough it out, no matter what it is, right? Well, maybe that’s okay to do when you just have the sniffles, but what about a serious pain or other unexplained symptoms? Those really shouldn’t be ignored. And, if you haven’t had your physical lately, that’s important too. It’s recommended you get an annual physical. It’s really quite painless, and might only take an hour out of your day, but could save your life. Your doctor can do things like check your cholesterol, to see if it’s in the healthy range. This test is a must, because high blood pressure can lead to heart disease. He can also check your body mass index (BMI). This is a good way to judge if you’re overweight or not. He’ll listen to your heart and lungs and take your history and decide what other good preventative tests are appropriate for you. It’s important to get regular check-ups from your doctor, so if it’s been a while, make an appointment today.
Get Your Zzz’s!
Many guys don’t get enough sleep or have trouble sleeping. It’s a good idea to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Not getting enough sleep can lead to a host of bad health problems, like obesity, heart disease and even depression. If you snore like a chain saw, wake up gasping for air during the night, or you’re constantly exhausted during the day, you could have a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea. If you’re feeling like this, it could be another topic to discuss with your doctor.
Get Active And Eat Your Veggies!
If you have a sedentary job and just grab some fast food for lunch, you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you’re like most guys you work at a desk and sit for a good part of the day. You need to get up and move. According to the CDC, we need at a minimum 2.5 hours of moderate activity each week. This means going for a walk at a good clip, not just a stroll. Also, try to work all your muscles. You can do resistance exercises or use weights. Grab a cheap pair of resistance bands and keep them in your desk drawer at work. Take them out and do a quick five-minute workout after you take a walk around the parking lot at lunch. As for eating, we’re all guilty of just grabbing something like a fast burger, but we need our vegetables too. Vegetables are packed with vitamins. Here’s a tip: try packing your lunch for each day of the week, planning it out on the weekends. That way it’s all prepared and you can just grab it from the fridge when you leave in the morning for work. This way you won’t be tempted to just run out and get fast food at lunch. Ideally, prepare a lunch with some protein, veggies, whole grains and a healthy fat, like avocado or olive oil. Try to avoid foods with excess sugar. Fruits, nuts, low-fat cheese, lean meats, yogurt, protein drinks, raw veggies are easy to prepare and healthy. Try to avoid soda and drink more water. It’s easy to become dehydrated, especially in the heat, so always make sure your drink plenty of water.
Do you have a stressful job and life? A lot of men do. An undue amount of stress is not good for anyone. Exercise is a great way to keep your stress in check, so is meditation. You can spend a few minutes meditating anywhere. Find a quiet place and sit for a few minutes with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing, don’t think about anything else but your breath in and out. You can view videos and read books on meditating. Try it the next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s easy and it works.
Kick The Habit
We shouldn’t have to say it but, if you smoke, stop! No matter how long you’ve smoked, according to the CDC, it’s never too late to stop and the benefits of doing so are huge. Stopping will lower your chances of cancer, heart disease and lung disease. Think of the money you’ll save too. Put the money you would’ve used for the cigarettes into an account and save for something you want. It might seem impossible, but you can do it.
So, take this week to reflect on whether you’re as healthy as you could be and make a few changes. You’ll be glad that you did. You can learn a lot more about the information contained in this article at http://www.cdc.gov/Men/nmhw/index.htm