Sat | Jan 28, 2023

Improving men’s health

Published:Wednesday | January 11, 2023 | 12:12 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer
Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet.
Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet.
Men who are physically fit and active tend to have a decreased risk of heart disease.
Men who are physically fit and active tend to have a decreased risk of heart disease.
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Some men struggle to look after their mental and physical well-being, which may cause them to skip check-ups and preventive screenings that can help them live longer, healthier lives. Men who do not take proactive steps may develop serious health issues.

The good news is, there are many things that you can do to take control of your health, starting with prioritising prevention. From eating better and visiting your doctor for regular check-ups to quitting bad habits like smoking, these actions may help detect problems before they become more serious.

According to Shani McGraham-Shirley, creator of Yahsuh, a Caribbean dance fitness programme, no matter what health issues men might face, they can take charge of their well-being by taking preventive and proactive steps today.

“In order to ensure men minimise or alleviate major health conditions, they need to recognise they are not invincible, but they are an investment with great returns. Once they put the time, effort and money into themselves, they can live longer, healthier lives and be able to make more money and utilise more time and effort efficiently,” McGraham-Shirley said.

She added that eating well, getting sufficient exercise and sleep, consuming less alcohol, minimising stress levels, regular doctor check-ups with annual executive profiles and prostate exams are the keys to living well.

“Men buy beautiful luxury vehicles or sports cars. They care for them, service them regularly, using the purest gas versus the cheap stuff. They are mindful who they would allow to drive it. They see the value in the Porsche. If they can treat a tangible, replaceable object with such care, they can do better with self,” she said.

One of the keys to a long and healthy life is taking preventative steps against potential medical problems.

• GET REGULAR CHECK-UPS

Regular check-ups help you manage your health and detect early signs of serious conditions. Your regular health screenings should include cholesterol, blood pressure, skin cancer and colorectal checks. Do not forget to schedule dental check-ups, too. It’s important to take care of your oral hygiene with brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. Tell your doctor about your family health history and be honest about your lifestyle. Your doctor needs to have a complete picture of your overall wellness, even if you smoke, drink or skip your workouts.

• GET SOME EXERCISE

Regular exercise keeps your body strong and healthy. Men who are physically fit and active tend to have a decreased risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in men. If you are new to working out, consider working with a trainer or joining a group fitness class. If the gym is not your style, look for other activities, such as swimming, hiking or playing football. Try to include both strength and cardio exercises into your workout for the best results.

• PORTION CONTROL

If saying no to your favourite junk food sounds impossible, start by cutting back. Reduce the amount of unhealthy food you eat by serving smaller portions of it. Instead of eating chips out of a bag, put some in a bowl to control the serving size. Eating from smaller plates can help you eat less food and still feel full. Instead of getting the large French fries, order a medium. There are many easy ways to cut back on your junk food intake.

• EAT MORE GOOD FOOD

As you limit the bad foods you eat, make an effort to eat more foods that are good for you. Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet. It does not have to be all salads all the time. Vegetable substitutes for your favourite foods, allow you to enjoy the flavour you love and the health benefits you need.

• REDUCE STRESS

Stress can lead to weight gain, a decline in mental health, a higher risk of heart problems and other serious side effects. Men, take stress seriously and take steps to reduce stress in your life. If you cannot eliminate stressors, make an effort to reduce them. Managing stress can look different for everyone. Find ways to stay calm by taking deep breaths, hanging out with friends, exercising, listening to music or participating in whatever relaxation technique works for you.

• GO TO SLEEP

If these easy life changes sound exhausting, here is one you might enjoy: Get more sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep is an important way to maintain good health throughout your life. Generally, experts recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble falling asleep, try turning off your electronics before bed and avoiding caffeine late in the day.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com