Despite strong efforts by the women in their lives, men don’t often attend to health needs as carefully as they should. Whether the lapse stems from tight schedules, competing priorities, personal anxiety, or willful ignorance, men actually have more agency over their well-being than they acknowledge. In fact, many health issues for men are preventable – it’s a simple matter of choice. Small changes to even a few nagging habits can affect outcomes, improve lifespan, and boost quality of life.
Use the Basics You Already Know
For most men, the solutions are familiar: Get more exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables, cut back on alcohol, stop smoking, and minimize the effects of stress. These shifts may seem tedious at first, but with a measure of commitment, making small, incremental changes can be a productive strategy. A ship doesn’t change course immediately; similarly, better health comes about with one less soda or beer each day, or one less helping at dinner. A manageable exercise regimen might begin with simply walking around the driveway before you push forward to weight training or yoga.
Stay in Touch with Your Doctor
One of the smartest tactics for long-term health is developing a trusting relationship with a physician. Not only can he monitor your bloodwork and observe your progress, but he can also put data into context. Sure, you may have high cholesterol on paper, but he can demonstrate that numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. If you also eat well, have a healthy weight, and exercise regularly, a statin may not be the best solution for long-term wellness. A thoughtful doctor can help translate the columns of information in practical terms and offer guidance based on – rather than dictated by – lab reports.
Keep an Eye on What’s Important
Seeing your physician regularly also means that you can take advantage of health screenings for age-related conditions and those for which you may be genetically predisposed. If something troubling does show up on a test, it’s likely that it will be found early, which makes it much easier to treat with minimal disruption to your daily life. Heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and diabetes can raise alarms, but you also want to keep a check on conditions like depression, low testosterone, and erectile dysfunction, which usually get a quieter reception but are no less important to your overall well-being.
Give Up Reckless Behaviors
Although it’s not always spotlighted, men’s health can be substantially jeopardized by a lack of caution. Climbing ladders or using lawn equipment and power tools without observing safety guidelines puts you at unnecessary risk for injury. So does not wearing a seatbelt, exerting yourself in extreme weather, or lifting items that are too heavy or unwieldy. Sure, there are things that need to be done around the house and for fun, but don’t let pride or carelessness prevent you from being smart and keeping yourself in tip-top shape. Heed your inner voice, listen to the people who love you, and don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen when you’re working outside. Your health is too important to be a second thought!