This Sunday, June 18, families across the nation will pay tribute on Father’s Day, but the celebration does not have to start and end there. This week is also National Men’s Health Week, designed to promote health and wellness for men and encourage them to maintain healthier lifestyles.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of death for men include cancer, heart disease and unintentional injuries. Depression is also a major health issue for men, especially for first-time fathers.
No matter the man, an unhealthy lifestyle can increase their risk of developing these conditions. Many of these issues are preventable, however, so men should maintain a balanced lifestyle that keeps them happy and healthy.
“Today, women are outliving men by five to six years, on average,” says Dr. Michael Ward, a family and sports medicine specialist on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “There are many reasons for this disparity, but research suggests men’s attitudes about health and wellness are a factor. Men are less likely to visit the doctor or get regular physicals than women, for instance. We can do better – and we should. Our lifestyle choices affect not only us, but our families, friends and loved ones.”
To celebrate this week, the CDC suggests taking steps to be a positive example for the men in your life. Inspiring the men around you to join you on a wellness journey can be as easy as committing to a couple of small changes together. Not sure where to start? Dr. Ward offers these suggestions:
- Change up your diet. Carry a reusable water bottle to increase the amount of water you drink every day or pack an extra piece of fruit in your lunch every day.
- Get enough sleep each night. Establish a bedtime and a healthy evening routine. Turn off your phone and other electronic devices an hour before bed to make it easier to fall asleep.
- Add some physical activity into your daily routine. If you sit at a desk, try to stand up and walk around every hour. If your workplace offers a gym benefit, try to get a short workout in over lunch.
- Try to decrease your stress levels. If you enjoy working out, try practicing yoga or meditation as a way to integrate stress-relieving activities into your daily lifestyle.
- Schedule an annual check-up with your doctor. Afraid you’ll forget? Set reminders in your phone and schedule visits in advance. Having something on the calendar can help keep your health at the front of your mind.