Taking charge of your health is important at any age, but as you enter your 30s, 40s and beyond, you may notice your body needs a little extra TLC.
Prioritizing preventive health, eating right, staying active and managing stress are just a few of the things men should be doing as they grow older. Since June is Men’s Health Month, we’re highlighting 14 ways for you to focus on your health and well-being — no matter what stage of life you are in right now — so you can live a happier, healthier and longer life.
Watch what you eat.
Ensure you eat healthy balanced meals rich in protein, fiber, vegetables and healthy fats. Eat fresh, clean foods as much as possible and consume plenty of water daily. Avoid or cut back on sugars, fatty foods and packaged snacks.
Pay attention to how you eat.
It’s not just about what you eat but also how you eat. Chew for longer and cut your food into smaller portions so you can learn to recognize the signs of being full before you’re stuffed from overeating. This can help prevent indigestion or discomfort after eating.
Avoid frequent sugar spikes.
Frequent sugar spikes lead to insulin resistance, a condition where the body can’t use the glucose in your blood for energy. Insulin resistance can eventually progress into type 2 diabetes. Tips to reduce glucose spikes include starting the day with a savory (not sweet) breakfast and eating vegetables and protein before your carbs when eating meals, If you’re craving a sweet snack, try some berries, which are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Raspberries, for instance, have a whopping 8 g of fiber and only 5 g of sugar per cup.
Manage your weight.
Belly fat can be particularly problematic when it comes to managing your health. Too much of it can increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, heart disease and certain cancers. Obesity in men has also been linked to lowered testosterone levels, so by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can reduce your risk of disease and complications.
Visit your primary care physician.
Check in with your doctor yearly to get bloodwork and any recommended screenings for your age (prostate, testicular or colon cancer screening, for example). Taking a proactive approach to your health can ensure early detection and prevention of disease. Additionally, visiting your doctor regularly builds more context for them to understand what is considered out of the norm for you.
Familiarize yourself with your family history.
Know what risk factors you might be predisposed to. A family history of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers puts you at higher risk for the same. If any of your family members have a history of these conditions, it’s important for your doctor to know.
Get regular exercise.
To maintain good health, experts recommend getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise and at least two muscle-strengthening sessions per week. For example, cardio can include walking, swimming, jogging, biking or basketball. Strength training may include weightlifting, rock climbing or even yoga.
While in a perfect world we’d be getting all the nutrients we need from our food, this isn’t always the case. So, taking a multivitamin, fish oil for healthy omega 3s or a vitamin D3 supplement can ensure optimal functioning. If have your bloodwork done regularly, you will know if you’re low on key nutrients.
Break unhealthy habits.
Habits like smoking or excessive drinking can deteriorate your health over time and lead to severe disease. Work on breaking habits that are bad for your health to set yourself up for a longer and healthier life.
Stick to a set sleep schedule.
Maintain the same sleep schedule as best you can every day, including on weekends. Doing so helps keep your circadian rhythm regulated, ensuring you get good quality sleep each night. Experts recommend adults 18 to 60 years old get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per day.
Manage your stress.
If you often find yourself stressed out and overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to build awareness around what gets you stressed in the first place and develop solid coping strategies to manage it effectively. Too much stress can lead to physical symptoms and even illness.
Take care of your mental health.
Seek out the help of a therapist if your mental health impacts your ability to function on a daily basis. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, along with healthy lifestyle changes, can significantly improve your mental well-being and quality of life.
Do a monthly self-screening.
Give yourself a testicular self-exam once a month. Catching any changes or lumps early and alerting your doctor is an important prevention and early detection measure men of any age should take.
Mind your testosterone.
After 30, testosterone levels naturally start to decline. Maintaining a healthy weight and good lifestyle habits can help you sustain more stable testosterone levels as you age. Foods like garlic, onion, chicken, fish, oysters, eggs, lean beef, spinach and nuts can help with maintaining healthy testosterone levels at any age.