By: Jhanae Winter
It's all about Men’s Health this month, but the second week in June is always allocated to celebrate and bring awareness globally to men’s physical and mental health.
This year the week starts today, June 14th - 20th.
For those who don't know, Men’s Health week originated in America and became a national awareness campaign by the U.S. Congress in 1994. It was picked up globally by European nations and Australia in 2002.
The initiative then and now is to encourage men to make good health choices, take their health seriously and to be brave about conversations that include doctors and hospitals.
During this week here are SEVEN easy tips to follow and guide you on your journey to bettering your health.
Eat well. Men are more prone to lose weight compared to women but that doesn't mean you should pile it on. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is crucial for men’s health. Cut back on salts, sugars and processed flours and increase your fruit and vegetable as well as fiber intake. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian or carnivore, eat in moderation. Likewise, drink the recommended ounces of water for your lifestyle, the standard is eight, but this can differ from person to person. Men who consume less alcohol are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. So the next time you are looking for a buzz drink beetroot juice!
Sleep regularly. Don’t assume this is a no brainer, because you would be surprised at the little sleep a lot of men receive because of their jobs, family, responsibilities etc. Taking care of one’s self is a hassle, therefore looking and supplying for others can take a toll on the body and mind. The recommended time is between 6-8 hours. This will help you feel more alert, refreshed and ready to take on the day. Plus you wouldn't be as cranky in the mornings. ;)
Exercise. Take the time this week to factor in some exercise. Go for a brisk walk, the gym, or even play a sport. Just move. Many work in office environments that may not call for them to move around alot, so instead take the stairs and not the elevator or park further away from your destination to walk alonger. Sounds weird right, but this is something my dad does. Keeping active decreases your chances of heart diseases, diabetes, cholesterol and so much more. Likewise, inactive men are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses such as depression.
Make that appointment. Honestly, what are you waiting for, come on you can do it. This week make a goal for yourself to get that checkup or physical you've been meaning to do, or everyone told you you need to do. No more excuses. There are many diseases wherein men are at higher risk of being effected such as heart disease, liver disease, colon cancer, spinal injuries, and the list can go on.
Don’t ignore the signs. Everyone has their reasons they choose not to go to the doctors. Some do it out of fear, conspiracies, religion, pride etc. but when things affecting your health are constantly ignored it becomes a bigger problem that forces you to pay attention to it in the future. If something can be rectified in its early stages, deal with it. So, once again make that appointment!
Break the stigma. This week, try to invoke change by starting conversations on men’s health, in particular mental health. Stick with the facts and encourage others to seek help if they need it. Start in your home. Talk to your sons about their health. Establish a balanced/healthy perspective of medical professionals, hear how they feel on the matter and guide them when needed. One day these boys will be men and if the stigma can end at a young age, they will grow up into health conscious individuals. But don't stop there, your nephew, cousin, dad, grandad, brother, friend or barber. Whichever male you interact with in the days to come, have a conversation with them.
Relax. But most importantly remember to take a break and breathe.When considering your health, taking time for yourself has great value. Whether this means with others or enjoying some alone time. A lot of men are under pressure or stressed for different reasons which can lead to internal issues like increased blood pressure or external problems like grumpiness, or outburst of rage. It is important to take breaks when needed to unwind and sort out your emotions, thoughts and feelings. With everything on your plate sometimes it is easy to forget to do this. However, ensure that your relaxing habits are benefiting your health and not deteriorating it.
The aim of this entire month is to bring men’s health to the forefront. Men are typically left behind in this area of life for various reasons. But your health does not only affect you but every single person connected to you.
So make the right choice starting this week!