Men’s Health Week was created by the U.S. Congress in 1994 to boost awareness of men’s health and ways to improve it. When juggling busy work lives, men are often left with little time and no energy to evaluate their lifestyles. With many men living demanding lifestyles where work and family often take priority over their own needs, unhealthy eating habits and lax fitness regimes can often take hold, leading to weight gain and related health issues. Heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure rank as the top three health problems plaguing men, and all can be prevented through re-thinking diet and exercise.
Regardless of age or current health status, consider the following things you can start doing now to keep your health in check:
Get moving. The benefits of exercise are far reaching and well-documented. In as little as 30 minutes you could be reducing your risk for heart disease, releasing feel-good endorphins, blasting fat, and improving your energy levels and overall quality of life.
Know your blood pressure. If you don’t know your blood pressure, get it checked—and do whatever you have to do to keep it in a healthy range. High blood pressure, the proverbial “silent killer,” stalks systems throughout the body. Widespread damage occurs in the arteries, heart, kidneys, eyes, and brain. The ideal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. Exercising more will have an immediate beneficial effect, as will cutting back on alcohol if you have more than one or two drinks a day.
Get a complete physical exam. While you’re looking into that whole blood pressure thing, why not just make it a complete physical exam?! The physical exam is a vital part of preventive medicine for all people regardless of age, sex or activity level; its importance cannot be emphasized enough. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all adults, even seemingly healthy ones, should undergo regular physical examinations at their healthcare provider’s recommended frequency.
Cut back on sodium in your diet. The average American male can easily take in 6 grams of sodium a day. That’s more than twice the recommended level. Most of this comes from eating fast foods, processed meats, canned and other prepared foods, and restaurant food. Start by reducing processed and pre-packaged food. Plan to cook some fresh meals during the week that include fresh vegetables, and save the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Don’t ignore the warning signs. If you experience an unusual pain, ache, or other possible warning sign or symptom, don’t brush it off (as men are prone to do) as “probably nothing.” Heart disease remains the leading killer of men and all Americans. Don’t ignore the signs:
- Excessive sweating, shortness of breath, or exhaustion with exertion could be a treatable heart or lung problem.
- Many men believe that the pain of a heart attack is felt only on the left side of the chest and moves to the left arm. It isn’t always that cut-and-dried. Heart-attack pain is often felt under the breastbone (sternum) and pain occurs in both arms as often as in the left arm alone.
- Chest pain that is triggered by activity but that goes away with rest suggests angina (a narrowing of one or more coronary arteries) while oppressive pain that isn’t relieved by rest suggests a heart attack.
Dad, brother, husband, son, college student or retiree, it’s never too late (or too soon) to evaluate and improve your health. An excellent way to treat yourself, AND have the best interest of your loved ones in mind, is by giving yourself the gift of a healthy, happy life. Taking care of your mind and body with regular exercise is a great way to do just that. We know you’re busy, but all you need is 30 minutes, three times a week at 9Round to achieve your health and fitness goals.
And for those of you looking for a great Father’s Day gift for the man in your life, skip the ties and sleeves of golf balls, dad’s already got more of those than he’ll ever need. Give him the gift of 9Round. It’s an activity that you can enjoy together and the gift that keeps on giving!