Taking charge of your own good health is important at any age – and it’s never too late to start developing healthier habits. Like women, men need to have regular visits with the doctor, take steps to manage stress, make nutritious food choices, and engage in physical activity.
Regardless of your age or general health, if you’re ready to focus on a healthier you, the following men’s health tips checklist provides a foundation from which to begin:
1. Have regular checkups – even if you feel okay.
One of the best ways that men can promote their own good health is to have a physical or wellness check each year – regardless or age or health concerns. Besides a general once-over, the physical should include cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure evaluations.
2. Schedule an appointment with your doctor when something doesn’t seem right.
It’s also important to see a doctor if you have noticed changes in your sleep or bathroom habits, have a cut or sore that doesn’t seem to heal, notice changes in your moles or birthmarks, or if you’re experiencing unexplained weight fluctuations or sexual dysfunction.
Remember that many significant health issues begin as minor problems that could have been prevented or better managed if they had been detected early. Rather than thinking it’s just a matter of “toughing it out”, invest in your future good health by discussing your health concerns with your doctor.
3. Know your family history – and share it with your doctor.
If your dad or other family members have a history of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes or other chronic health conditions, you may be at higher risk for developing those conditions yourself. Your doctor can help you develop an action plan to minimize those risks and increase your chances of early detection.
4. Get some exercise.
Ideally, you should exercise at least 30 minutes a day. But if you’re having difficulty squeezing in a workout, remember that even a brisk 20-minute walk a few times a week with your spouse, or regular play outside with your kids or grandkids, can provide heart healthy and stress-relieving benefits.
5. Give yourself permission to take a break.
Knocking off once in a while to play golf, head to a ballgame, or watch TV with your family aren’t just fun ideas – they’re best practices that help you keep stress at bay. If you’re having difficulty finding room for leisure, look for creative ways to get some “you” time, like listening to audiobooks and podcasts on your drive to work or while you’re taking care of the yard.
6. Ask your doctor about cancer screenings.
Based on your age, family history, and lifestyle, your doctor may recommend that you undergo screening for colon cancer, prostate cancer, or lung cancer.
7. Stop smoking.
Ask your doctor to help you develop a plan of action, then pick a “quit date” and stick with it. Download a stop smoking guide.