You’re probably aware Father’s Day occurs every year on the third Sunday in June. Did you know there’s another observance in June that’s also significant for men? June is Men’s Health Month. This is a great time to encourage Dad and the other men you love to take an active role to improve their health. If you’re a man, you can set an example for the men around you by taking charge of your health this June.
Visit Your Doctor
Your first step is to establish a relationship with a primary care physician if you don’t already have one. You should visit your primary care doctor at least once a year for a routine physical (well visit). Going to the doctor when you’re not sick may not be a priority for you but that needs to change. Regular check-ups are an important part of preventative care and help your physician establish a baseline for what’s normal for you.
During your well visit, your doctor will perform a physical examination and discuss your medical history and lifestyle. Your physician will recommend the screenings appropriate for your age and circumstances. You may be screened for depression, high blood pressure, prostate cancer, vision, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, diabetes, or hearing. Regular screenings are important because they can detect problems early when they’re easiest to handle.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
At your well visit, your doctor will provide preventative health coaching, which may include lifestyle changes for optimum health. While you may think your provider is a killjoy, your physician has your best interests in mind. The reasoning behind common lifestyle advice follows.
Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risks of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other conditions. When you quit smoking, you reduce your risk of smoke-related illness. Also, you stop exposing your loved ones to the secondhand smoke that could cause them to have smoke-related diseases.
Lose weight. Excess weight is associated with higher risks of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension. Even losing modest amounts of excess weight is associated with better levels of blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
Drink in moderation. Typically, drinking in moderation for men means no more than two drinks per day. Regular overindulgence in alcohol is linked to greater risks of liver disease, certain types of cancer, depression, and stomach bleeding.
Exercise. The benefits of regular exercise are too numerous to list here. Physical activity boosts your mood, improves sleep, lower your risks of heart disease, and supports a healthy weight. If you’re completely sedentary, consult your doctor before starting a fitness routine. Being physically active doesn’t require special equipment or a gym membership. Even going for a walk counts as long as it’s done regularly.
Improve Your Diet. You probably already know that a diet high in sugar, fat, salt, or fast food meals isn’t good for you. Switching gears to whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat protein can be a challenge. To help you make the transition to better eating, your physician can provide you with resources like a nutrition class or recommend seeing a dietitian.
Why Men’s Health Month Should Matter to You
Taking care of your health can literally extend your life. Your loved ones want you to be around to share daily joys and life’s milestones. Schedule this year’s physical. Be honest with yourself about the lifestyle changes you need to make. If you’re going to be successful, you need to put a plan in place to quit smoking, lose weight, eat well, or maintain your fitness routine.
Your hard work will be worth it when you’re still here to celebrate weddings, birthdays, graduations, and holidays (like Father’s Day) with your loved ones.