It's time we cover some of the key ways men can consistently care for their health. But, we wanted to keep it simple. After all, we realize that real men (like you) are too busy building, fixing, and lifting things (wink, wink) to stop and read an article about staying healthy.
So, here are five brief, simple, and (oh, so) manly tips for you or the men in your life:
Just go to the doctor, for the love of all that’s holy!
Yes, we know: you were brought up to “play through the pain” and “tough it out.” You don’t need anyone poking and prodding you, or telling you to “take two of these and call me in the morning.”
But, the fact is, all that traditional macho crap may just be killing you.
When you’re sick, your body needs care. Sure, if it’s something simple and mundane like a cold, you’re fine handling it at home. But, if you’re dealing with serious pain, symptoms that are prolonged and hinder your quality of life, and especially if you’re not sure of the cause, you need to see a professional and get help. After all, there’s no value in having “Tough Guy” engraved on your tombstone.
Even if you’re strong as an ox and healthy as can be, you should be keeping up with an annual physical exam with your primary care physician.
Northshore University Health System did a survey last year asking men why they didn’t go to the doctor, then had one of its physicians respond to each of the common answers. It’s an informative read. One of the key quotes we’re sure you’ll relate to came from Dr. Jonathan Seyfert:
“Think of your health like your car — even when it is new, shiny and running fine, it is important to take it in for service to prevent damage down the road.”
Don’t “diet,” just eat smart
While everyone these days recognizes the importance of eating right and the need to maintain a healthy weight, it’s no easier than it ever was, especially when that Whopper is still calling your name every time you pass the BK on the way home from work.
But, what’s important for guys to realize is that eating healthy is a lifelong commitment. And, it’s really not that hard. According to nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge in her Healthline interview, “Men tend to take extreme measures when trying to lose weight, such as skipping meals all day.”
Not only is that an unnecessarily difficult way to go about it, but it’s far more likely to result in breaking down and grabbing that delicious fat bomb you’re craving and, in the long run, falling back into bad habits. That’s the genesis of “yo-yo dieting,” and men don’t play with yo-yos.
Here’s an excellent primer on healthy nutrition for men that can serve as a foundation for how you eat the rest of your life.
Go for balanced workouts
Yes, pumping mad iron has its place. And, if you really want to go this route, you can try overturning tractor tires, throwing trees, and sledgehammering cement if it makes you feel more masculine than the cable row machine at your local gym.
But reaping the full health benefits out of your exercise program means more than just building a set of rippling pecs. In fact, the best option involves balancing your workout time between these three pillars:
- Strength training - weight lifting and/or bodyweight moves like squats and push-ups
- Functional exercises - those that focus primarily on balance, a full range of movement, and strengthening your core
- Cardio - workouts that get your blood pumping and sweat pouring
All three of these workout types offer massive health benefits, and all are important if your goal is longevity and quality of life.
And there’s one more aspect of an exercise routine that men especially tend to forget about: rest.
You see, you don’t actually build muscle in the gym. You tear muscle down in the gym. Then, that muscle is rebuilt — bigger and stronger — over the next day or two while you’re letting it rest, and especially while you sleep.
So, by all means set up a killer workout and stick to it. But, make sure it’s balanced, and that it leaves adequate time for your body to recharge and rebuild in between.
Protect your man parts
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention those health issues only men need to worry about. Yes, we’re talking about penile, testicular, and prostate cancer, as well as other potentially serious health issues centered in the same netherregions.
Far too many men avoid their recommended screenings (see above) and even skip self examination because they simply don’t want to know. But, once again, that’s a foolish tendency. And, in today’s medical environment, there’s absolutely no logical basis for it.
The fact is, all of these cancers — and pretty much anything else your doctor can potentially find while examining your man parts — are very treatable. Like most medical conditions, the earlier they’re diagnosed, the better your chances of making a full recovery. So, it’s just foolish to avoid your recommended examinations or lab tests out of embarrassment or fear.
Don’t neglect your oral health
Finally, it’s vital for men to recognize and appreciate the importance of oral health in their overall health picture.
There is indisputable clinical evidence that your oral health has a direct and profound impact on your overall health, as well as your longevity and quality of life. While you’re probably fine with brushing every day, and may even floss daily too, the third necessary pillar of oral health self care falls victim to the same serious shortcoming we discussed in the first tip above.
You need to see your dentist twice a year, even if nothing hurts and everything looks perfect.
When a hygienist professionally cleans your teeth, they’re able to accomplish so much more than you and your toothbrush are capable of. And, when your dentist does their visual examination after the cleaning, they’re not just checking the hygienist’s work. They’re looking for evidence of serious systemic disorders, many of which can be diagnosed earlier through an oral examination than by any other means.
So, if you haven’t already, make your biannual appointments for your cleaning and routine dental exam right now. If the cost of dental care is holding you back, you should look into a dental discount program. Likewise, if the cost of prescription drugs, vision care, chiropractic care, or any other sort of healthcare is holding you back from keeping proper tabs on your health, a program like Wellness Complete can help with that.