Everyone knows the importance of a healthy lifestyle. If you have a busy schedule, you may find it hard to make time for regular exercise or find yourself eating a lot of takeout and junk food. But you can’t afford to be passive about your health. Take a proactive approach by following these basic health tips for men.
Visit your doctor
Men are notorious for avoiding the doctor and ignoring unusual symptoms. This may help explain why women tend to live longer. Don’t let complacency take a toll on your health.
Schedule yearly checkups with your doctor and keep these appointments. Your doctor can help monitor your weight, blood pressure, and the level of cholesterol in your blood. Excess weight, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Your doctor can recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments to help get your weight, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol under control.
Eat natural foods
Packaged and processed foods are often full of sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, artificial additives, and calories. Limit the fake stuff and eat a wide variety of:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- whole-grain products, such as brown rice and whole-grain breads
- fiber-rich foods, such as beans and leafy greens
- lean cuts of meat and poultry, such as skinless chicken breast and lean ground beef
- fish, such as salmon
When buying groceries, shop the perimeter of the store. This is where you’ll typically find the freshest foods. Spend less time inside the aisles, where processed foods tend to be located.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease and keep your ticker strong. It can also help you improve and maintain your overall physical and mental well health.
Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, every week. For example, schedule five 30-minute long sessions of aerobic exercise in your weekly calendar. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, basketball, tennis, and other sports.
It’s also important to make time for at least two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities per week. For example, weight lifting, rock climbing, and yoga can help you develop stronger muscles.
Maintain a healthy waist
If your waist measures more than 40 inches around, it could be cause for concern. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, it raises your risk of obesity-related diseases. For example, men with large waists are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
For most men, the best way to shed excess belly fat is to cut calories from your diet and exercise more. Ask your doctor to help you develop a weight-loss plan that’s safe and effective for you.
Get your vitamins
Most people can get the vitamins and minerals needed for optimum health by eating a well-balanced diet. It’s important to eat wide variety of vitamin- and mineral-rich foods, such as fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Many of those foods also provide heart-healthy fiber and natural antioxidant compounds that can help lower your risk of certain diseases.
Some people may also benefit from taking a daily multivitamin or other supplements. For example, your doctor may encourage you to supplement your diet with fish oil capsules containing omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3. Ask your doctor about the potential benefits and risks of adding a multivitamin or other supplements to your daily routine.
Break unhealthy habits
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Secondhand smoke is also very dangerous. Nearly 7,300 nonsmoking Americans die from lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke every year, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Smoking and secondhand smoke exposure can also cause other health conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and heart disease. They also raise your risk of developing many types of cancer.
Other health-damaging behaviors include excessive alcohol consumption and recreational or habitual drug use. If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. For example, men should consume no more than two drinks per day, or the equivalent of 24 ounces of beer, 10 ounces of wine, or 3 ounces of spirits.
If you use recreational drugs, it’s important to stop. They’re linked to many health conditions. For example, cocaine use can cause heart attacks and strokes. Injected drugs of all sorts can lead to serious infections and skin breakdown at the injection sites.
Some men also use anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass. This can lead to serious health consequences. Possible outcomes include sterility, heart disease, skin disease, and behavioral problems.
If you smoke, drink too much, or use illicit drugs, your doctor can help you develop a plan to quit. They may recommend medication, therapy, or other treatments or strategies.
Protect your skin
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It’s one of the deadliest cancers. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), men over the age of 50 are at a heightened risk of developing it. Your risk is also higher if you’re Caucasian.
To lower your risk of developing melanoma, take steps to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. When you’re outside:
- spend time in the shade
- cover your body with protective clothing
- cover exposed skin in sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher
- reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming
It’s also important to avoid tanning beds, which are harmful sources of UV radiation.
Conduct a monthly skin check to look for new or unusual moles, changes to existing moles, or other changes to the color or texture of your skin. Use a mirror to help check places you can’t usually see. Visit a dermatologist about once a year for a full-body skin check.
Get your prostate checked
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis among American men, reports the American Cancer Society. If you have trouble urinating, develop pain when you urinate, or notice blood in your urine, it may be a sign of prostate problems. Make an appointment with your doctor. They may encourage you to get blood tests or undergo a prostate exam to check for prostate cancer or other conditions.
Check for colorectal cancer
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, reports the National Cancer Institute. It’s important to begin screening for colorectal cancer starting around age 50. Your doctor can use a colonoscopy to check for cancerous growths in your colon. They will also check for polyps, a type of noncancerous growth. Certain types of polyps can develop into cancer at a later time. Ask your doctor how often you should have a colonoscopy conducted.