Guys, this is it. The month you’re going to take control over your health. You’re going to do it because you want to feel strong and energetic. You want to be around for the people who love you. June is National Men’s Health Month, and it’s time to make a few changes because the little things you do — or don’t do — each day have a big impact on your health and wellbeing.
5 Ways for Men to Improve their Health — starting today!
1. Get some shut eye.
Seriously. It’s not a sign of weakness to insist on a full night’s sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults generally need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep may contribute to heart disease, obesity, and depression. A 2007 study at the University of Chicago Medical Center showed that lack of sleep can affect metabolism and appetite and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Fatigue also increases your chances of accidents.
2. Stretch, bend, move…
Exercise. You know it’s good for you and it’ll even help you achieve better sleep. If you’ve got a desk job, it’s even more important that you find a way to get moving throughout the day. If you’re not a gym guy, how about an occasional bike ride or hike? Sports are exercise. So is dancing. Once you set your mind to it, it’s not that hard to incorporate physical activity into your life. About 2-1/2 hours of moderate aerobic exercise a week makes a big difference.
3. Ditch junk food, eat some veggies.
Food is fuel for your body and you can’t expect your body to run efficiently on a diet of junk. You don’t have to weigh or measure or drive yourself crazy. It really doesn’t have to be that hard. Little things back a big difference. If you’re concerned about your weight, start by cutting back on portions. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help prevent chronic disease, so ditch the bagged and boxed snacks and add more fruits and veggies to your meals. You’ll feel better in the short term and you’ll be healthier in the long run.
Stress can creep up on you. The pressures of daily responsibilities keep piling on until stress seems like a normal part of life, but prolonged stress takes a toll on your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can contribute to:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Sleep problems
Nobody wants that. You can’t make all of life’s problems go away, but there are a few things you can do. If you smoke, quit. Go easy on the alcohol. And pay attention to items 1-3: sleep, exercise, and diet. Whether it’s quiet meditation, reading, or playing your favorite sport, it’s important to find time — no — make time — for your favorite activities. A little fun goes a long way.
5. Schedule a check-up.
How long has it been since you’ve had a physical? Do you know if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol? You may not have symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Yearly check-ups may detect the early warning signs of trouble so you can head them off at the pass.
Take a little “me” time. Your family will thank you for it.