7 habits of healthy men

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7 habits of healthy men

Men are notorious for not being the best caretakers when it comes to their overall state of health. Whether it’s because they feel less manly going to the doctor and despise the feeling of loss of control or maybe they’d just rather be in denial if something is wrong.  Either way, men need to “man-up” and “be a man” who gets to determine his health destiny as much as possible.

Men live on average about five years less than a woman.  There are a multitude of factors affecting this ranging from being higher risk-takers to working physically taxing jobs putting a lot strain on their bodies.  We all want men to have a long, healthy life but when men tend to ignore their health, it can be a challenge to keep illness and disease at bay.

Here are seven ways a man can start being his own health boss  - only he can decide what he wants to do and is willing to do to ensuring optimal energy, stamina, and lifelong good health, no matter what challenges life may bring:

1.    Eat well to be well

How we feed ourselves matters.  Our food choices have a huge impact on health.  Men, take advantage of this.  Fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables, include more beans, nuts and seeds and choose lean protein sources such as fish and chicken, low-fat dairy and whole grains – these are the foods to keep yourself feeling your best and reduce risk of diseases. Ditch soda, other sugary foods and beverages, fried foods, hot dogs, and burgers.  These foods contribute to weight gain, inflammation, and may possibly increase disease risk.

2.    Regular exercise

To control weight and help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer, a man must exercise regularly.  Physical activity needs to be a priority with no or few excuses. At least 5 days a week, schedule in a minimum of 30 minutes daily or getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly.  Choose activities you enjoy combining aerobic, strength training and flexibility for a well-rounded workout.

3.    Never start or quit smoking

Smoking is just bad all the way around with no health redeeming qualities – why start a habit that’s hard to break, ages you, and increases the risk of lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?  The same goes for those men who chew tobacco – another very bad habit that can lead to cancers of the oral cavity along with ruining your teeth.  Seek help on quitting smoking by asking your physician for help.  You will feel so much better not being entrapped by this bad health habit.

4.    Take care of your teeth

Our teeth are such an important part of our body not to negrlect.  We need them to help us chew our food, speak correctly, and to give us a confident, healthy smile.  It all starts with brushing, flossing, and using an oral mouthwash twice daily along with a visit to the dentist every six months.  The time it takes to do daily tooth care is not that long and it will help you to retain your natural teeth for many years to come.

5.    Regular checkups

Part of being a man is to go visit your physician yearly to monitor for or manage health conditions you may already have. Depending on your age, family history and current health, will determine what tests may be done.  At the very least a man should know his blood pressure, cholesterol number, and have a digital rectal exam.  At age 40, a PSA test should be performed and at age 50, a colonscopy.  You may not always like the results but these tests can also save your life. 

6.    Practice good hygiene

Simple things like washing hands frequently, disinfecting your computer key board and your cell phone, covering your mouth with your elbow or tissue if you cough or sneeze, can prevent the spread of germs making you sick. 

7.    Take time to relax

A lot of men are workaholics.  If all you do is work around the clock without any downtime, the stressful lifestyle will eventually take its toll.  You may notice more aches and pains, less energy and enthusiasm for life, your blood pressure will start to rise and you have elevated blood glucose levels.  Find activities you enjoy.  It could be golfing, fishing, hunting, hiking, anything that takes your mind off work and allows you necessary time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate.  Don’t skip this one.  Your life and health depend on it.