Don’t be that guy. Take control of your health this Movember.

Dad running with daughterIt is no secret that prevention saves lives.  But do you let it save yours?  Men are 100 percent less likely than women to visit a doctor for annual exams and preventative services. Considering that, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that men are less likely to be informed of common prevention practices. Are you one of these men?  If so, take a look at this list to learn how to stay healthy this Movember.

Be an active patient: Establishing a good personal relationship with your primary care doctor is one of the most important things you can do.  Don’t skip your annual checkups and make sure to get the recommended screenings based on your risk factors.  Be proactive about your health and honest about any red flags you see.

Exercise:  The benefits of physical activity are endless.  Not only does exercise control your weight and improve your mental health, but it also reduces your risk of countless illnesses and diseases, including some cancers.  Dr. Kipa, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Deputy Chief Medical Officer, recommends men to shoot for at least 30 minutes of physical activity, four days a week.

Keep water handy: We’ve all heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.”  Though the phrase sticks, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of exactly how much water we consume, both through drinks and food.  The best advice I’ve gotten is to just keep water on hand at all times – at your desk, in your car, by your bed, and anywhere else.  Make drinking water a habit, not just something you do at meal times or during a workout.

Know your numbers:  Do you know your blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index?  If so, do you know what to do about them?  Next time you go to the doctor, get these key health indicators checked and ask what lifestyle changes, if any, are recommended based on your results.

Control stress:  Stress affects far more than your current mood or emotions.  Stress often causes headaches, muscle tension, insomnia, weight gain, upset stomach, and other symptoms, and can lead to problematic coping mechanisms, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.  This month, spend time identifying stressors and consider ways you could manage stress.

If you smoke, try to stop:  If you’re a smoker, you already know you should quit.  But it takes more than this; you need to truly want to quit.  Use Movember as a motivator to take control of your health and overcome your addiction.  Start today and by the holidays you’ll have overcome withdrawal symptoms, improved your circulation and lung functioning, and decreased your risk for a heart attack.

Photo Credit: Mike Baird

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