4 Simple Ways Men Can Improve Their Health
If you glance at men’s lifestyle magazine covers, you’ll see most of the headlines can be grouped into a handful of predictable categories. Men are either being schooled in how they can reduce muscle loss, embark on a multi-week strength-training challenge, or given a laundry list of specific superfoods they should be working into their diet if they hope to stay as virile and sculpted as the models that grace the covers. In reality, there are many more reliable ways that men can improve their health.
Like anything that we want to become a good habit, changes to improve health should start small, increase steadily and be practiced on a daily basis until they become an ingrained part of your lifestyle. Looking at the overall snapshot of men’s health in the U.S., it’s easy to see why having good health goals is so important. According to data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40% of men over age 20 are obese, and 52% have high blood pressure. And of all U.S. men 18 and older, less than 60% get enough physical activity. All of these health issues can cut lives short. The leading causes of death for men in this country remain heart disease and cancer – health problems that can be prevented, in part, by better lifestyle habits.
Here are some easy ways to nudge your lifestyle into the healthy lane:
Get moving for the fun of it. Remember all those neighborhood games you played as a kid? Find an outside activity you really enjoy, even if you have to start slow and well below your old skill level. If you used to play a sport that you loved, look for a rec league in your area, join some pick-up games at your health club, or find some workout buddies who live nearby. The focus isn’t so much on which activity you are doing or even how well, but just that you’re getting regular physical activity. If you do something you enjoy, you’re more likely to keep doing it.
Limit your alcohol, depending on your age. Men under 65 years old can have a couple of alcoholic drinks a day and it’s still considered moderate consumption. But after age 65, health experts say that daily drink tally should stop at one. Risks of liver cancer, strokes and other diseases can increase for people who regularly drink too much alcohol, or have been drinking for a long time, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Regular check-ups. Don’t wait for aches, pains or a worrying health condition to push you to make an appointment with your health care provider. Think of regular checkups like other maintenance – you wouldn’t drive your car for a year without an oil change, so why neglect your body? Most times, checkups just affirm that you’re in good shape, or pinpoint areas you need to improve. In this way, they give you a roadmap for a healthier life.
Check in with yourself. Mental health has become a much more mainstream topic in recent years, and checking in on yourself is something you can do daily. Note how you’re feeling, give yourself some time and space to think about what’s going on in your life on days when you feel stressed, anxious, angry or just emotional. Do simple things for yourself that make your body and mind feel better. This could be fixing yourself a great-tasting and nutritious meal, going for a walk or bike ride in your favorite place, or just turning off your screens, putting your phone on silent and heading outside.
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