June is National Men’s Health Month. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases including cancer, heart disease, and depression (yes, mental health matters). Most of us have men in our lives that we care about being happy, healthy, and productive individuals, and this month is all about encouraging the men in your life (including you, men out there!) to take care of their bodies by eating right, exercising, and working to prevent disease.
Although we want to make the men in our lives healthier, it’s ultimately their responsibility to take control of their physical and mental health. How can men be more motivated to get healthier in mind, body, and spirit? It is important to realize that small changes, completed over time, can make a big difference.
Make some small dietary changes: Consider cutting back on alcohol this month or reducing smoking. You can add in an extra vegetable per meal or increase your intake of healthy fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir. It takes three weeks to form a habit, so start today!
Set health goals: Look at where you are now, and where you want to be. Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle? Eat less red meat? Increase your intake of fruits and veggies? Set small and achievable goals and work with your doctor to make them a reality.
Educate yourself: Read up on common health issues that impact men and see if any of them are issues you’re experiencing. There are several online resources you can access with regards to men’s health, and you can write down some questions or concerns to discuss with your physician. Asking questions about your health is never a bad thing.
Confront any issues you’re having: Are you having persistent back pain? Feelings of sadness and inability to function at full capacity? Does your knee hurt? If so, talk with your doctor! That’s what your doctor is here to help with. Don’t be scared. The worry and anxiety caused by the fear of the unknown are worse than either finding out you’re fine or that you have a problem and need help.
Pamper yourself: Get a massage. Take a nap. Get a pedicure (YES, many men get pedicures!). Play some golf. Walk your dog. These activities are fun and have an added benefit: they keep your mind and body healthy. Encourage a friend to do the same.
Basic ways men can stay healthy include:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains.
- Exercise for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
- Don’t smoke, vape, or chew tobacco.
- Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages to two drinks a day. Even less is better.
- Use sunscreen every time you’re outside.
- Limit stress and address stressful situations through coping mechanisms like meditation and counseling. Use medications to help if needed.
- Practice safe sex.
The best way for men to maintain good preventive health is to establish a relationship with a primary care provider that they can trust and communicate openly. UNC Lenoir Health Care can help you find a physician that can help men with all of their health needs. There is also an extensive network of specialists available in the UNC Lenoir system should more advanced care be needed. Please reach out to UNC Lenoir Health Care for more information by visiting our website, calling us at 252.522.7000, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.