June is Men's Health Month, a month used to raise awareness about health care for men and focus on encouraging boys, men and their families to practice and implement healthy living decisions, such as exercising and paying more attention to heart health. To get it started, we’ve compiled five general men’s health tips to encourage men to keep doing more of what they love.
1. Find a doctor, get regular checkups
A 2019 study by the Cleveland Clinic found that going to the doctor is so unappealing that most men (72%) would rather do household chores, like cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn than go to the doctor. I’ll be honest here — I am one of those 72% and it’s not because I like cleaning the bathroom. It’s because filling out paperwork, waiting around an office and then dealing with insurance is not fun. It’s so not fun that I used to put my own physical health at risk because of it, but I am slowly coming around to the idea.
Getting regular checkups with one doctor, not just an urgent care physician, will establish a relationship with that doctor. They will learn about your current health, your own medical history, your family’s medical history, your treatment preferences and daily challenges, and your personality and lifestyle. This relationship essentially establishes a “medical home” for you, so in the event that you are facing an acute illness, you have somewhere to go whether you need a physical examination or a prescription refill. More importantly, your physician will be able to follow your health throughout the years, search for trends and know you and your body better.
2. Get some exercise
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults of any age get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, which equals about 30 minutes a day, five days each week. When you get cardio exercise regularly, you increase your body’s blood flow. When your body pumps more blood through your system, it increases oxygen throughout your body and improves brain and organ function. As a reminder, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, killing 357,761 men in 2019, and a sedentary lifestyle is one of the five major risk factors (along with high blood pressure, abnormal values for blood lipids, smoking, and obesity) for cardiovascular disease. Even if it’s walking, you’re doing your heart a favor.
3. Limit your alcohol intake
According to the CDC, men are at more risk to face alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women. Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women, with approximately 22% of men report binge drinking on average five times a month, consuming eight drinks per binge. And the results of this is staggering. More than three-quarters of deaths from excessive drinking are among males, totaling more than 140,000 deaths each year in the U.S. And excessive alcohol consumption is linked to increased rates of aggression, assault, suicide and cancer among men. But… reducing your alcohol intake can also reduce the risk of all of the above stats.
4. Get comfortable talking about mental health
A high proportion of men in Western society have acquired psychological coping strategies that are often dysfunctional and leave them vulnerable to a number of negative physical or psychological outcomes. The problematic coping strategies include failing to obtain appropriate support from friends, family, or healthcare providers, overusing alcohol to lessen emotional suffering, denying suffering or ‘sucking it up,’ and isolation, or reducing social connectedness in times of distress. We all need to get more comfortable talking it out. And right now, it’s happening. In fact, Instagram is helping to de-stigmatize discussions around men’s mental health, with accounts such as Dr. Alex George, Mark Henick, Russell Brand and The Rock are helping to lead the way.
5. Practice self-care
Men don’t have to run themselves ragged while sacrificing their own care. It’s okay for men to practice self-care. “Men’s self-care is about taking time for yourself to relieve or prevent stress, usually accompanied by activities that stimulate the mind or body,” says Dudefluencer. And self-care has many forms, including exercise, yoga, meditation, picking up a new hobby, or even visiting Restore Hyper Wellness to try out Cryotherapy, get an IV Drip or up your Skin Health game.