Men face unique health challenges and need a wellness plan that addresses their specific needs. Learn how to prioritize your well-being, combat isolation and societal stigmas around mental health, and defy aging with these healthy lifestyle tips for men.
It is important to practice preventive care by establishing routine checkups and screenings. This section also outlines the importance of a well-rested, happy immune system.
Men need regular exercise to stay healthy. It improves cardiovascular health, prevents cancer and diabetes, boosts mood and sex life, and helps us sleep better. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week, whether it’s lifting weights in a gym or walking around the block with friends.
Yet many men struggle to get enough physical activity, particularly as they age. Often, the daily grind of household chores, children’s activities, work pressures and other pressing priorities allow exercise to slip down the priority list. Men are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to those who are active, but this is one of the most preventable causes of death. Try to incorporate walking, jogging, swimming, playing basketball or tennis, taking a yoga class, or using your body weight for muscle-strengthening exercises into your weekly routine. Exercise can also help you manage your weight and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Men have unique needs when it comes to diet. They need to eat enough protein and healthy fats to protect against cardiovascular disease and to keep their muscles strong. They also need to get plenty of vitamin D, which supports brain health and mood. The best sources of vitamin D include fortified dairy products, fatty fish and brief sun exposure.
While men are at greater risk for many of the same diseases as women, like heart disease, cancer and depression, they can reduce their risk by following a balanced diet, getting regular physical activity, not smoking, managing stress and drinking only in moderation (no more than two drinks per day). Men need to make healthy eating habits a priority, and seek guidance from healthcare professionals or registered dietitians when needed.
Men struggle with mental health issues as much as women do, and these problems often go undiagnosed or under-treated. Traditional gender roles and expectations, including the idea that men should be strong, dominant and in control, can make it harder for them to open up about their feelings or ask for help.
Adding to this is the fact that men may have a harder time recognizing depression or anxiety in themselves, especially if they’re not talking about their emotions with loved ones. If you notice a man in your life who might be struggling, consider scheduling an appointment with them to talk about how they’re feeling.
Changing the way that we talk about mental illness is essential to breaking down stigma and encouraging more men to seek treatment. When it comes to addressing depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, getting help sooner rather than later can drastically improve outcomes. This is why it’s important to support efforts to make mental health an equal priority for all individuals and groups.
Sleep is often overlooked in favor of other activities and responsibilities, but getting adequate amounts of rest provides significant benefits for both physical and mental health. A good night’s sleep promotes a healthy weight, reduces risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, improves mood and emotional resilience, and strengthens the immune system.
Poor sleep is associated with higher levels of inflammation in the body, which can lead to more bacterial infections and more sick days. Moreover, men who have trouble sleeping are more likely to attempt to ‘tough out’ illnesses at home rather than visit a doctor, which can lead to more serious problems down the road.
Men can optimize their sleep habits by following a consistent schedule, creating a comfortable bedroom environment, avoiding electronics before bedtime, and eating smaller meals. They can also benefit from melatonin supplements, which are known to help alleviate the symptoms of insomnia and jet lag. Men who suffer from snoring or other sleep disorders can seek treatment from an ENT specialist for advice and assistance.