Recent movements have been aimed at encouraging men to take their health seriously. For example, the goal of National Men’s Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Men – you can prioritize your health a by doing the following:
- Sleep Well – Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Also, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year. Sleep guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation have noted that sleep needs change as we age. In general, men need between 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Toss Tobacco – It’s never too late to quit smoking. It has immediate and long-term benefits. It improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. Also avoid being around secondhand smoke. Inhaling other people’s smoke causes health problems similar to those of smokers. Babies and children are still growing, so the poisons in secondhand smoke hurt them more than adults.
- Move More – Men need at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) every week, and muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) on two or more days a week. You don’t have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out during the week, and break it into smaller chunks of time during the day.
- Eat Healthy – Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. They are sources of many vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Choose healthy snacks.
- Get Checked – See your doctor for regular checkups. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so checkups help diagnose issues early before they become a problem. Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), or any others you may have. Pay attention to signs and symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. If you have these or symptoms of any kind, be sure to see your doctor right away. Don’t wait!