Men: It’s time to take charge of your health

[5-minute read]

In this article:

  • June is Men’s Health Awareness Month.

  • Men are more likely to suffer from certain health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

  • Regular check-ups with your doctor can help you stay on top of your health.

  • Eating healthy is the foundation of good health – and it starts with little steps.

  • There’s an exercise plan for everyone – so you can find an approach that fits your lifestyle and interests.

Here’s a startling statistic from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Men have a shorter life expectancy than women – by as much as 5 years. The good news is that men (whether you are one or love one) can take concrete steps to improve their health.

In honor of Men’s Health Awareness Month this June, we’re sharing our favorite advice and resources for men who are ready to take control of their good health. Let’s get started!

See the doctor regularly

When it comes to seeing the doctor, making an appointment may not be at the top of the priority list. In addition to work and family commitments, when you’re nervous or embarrassed to visit the doctor you may put it off even longer. But, it’s just as important for men to see the doctor as women – if not more. In addition to a shorter life expectancy, men are also at higher risk of certain (and serious) diseases, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Depression

Regular appointments with your doctor can help identify and address risk factors for these conditions and help you find answers to any health concerns or condition you may be experiencing.

Still not convinced? Check out these articles on the importance of regular health screenings for men:

Men’s heart health: Prevention and wellness strategies

Answering men’s prostate cancer questions

Have you been putting off your annual men’s wellness exam?

It’s time for that wellness checkup

Build better eating habits

When it comes to healthy eating, even good intentions can get sidelined. Make your healthy eating goals actionable by starting small. Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to always eat healthily, focus on making one change at a time. Maybe it’s swapping those chips you always have with lunch with some crunchy veggies and dip. Or, you can go “meatless” one night a week and try seafood or a vegetarian meal, like vegetable lasagna or grilled eggplant.

And remember, it’s okay if you don’t always achieve your goals. Stay focused on your wins and don’t let one setback derail you from doing better next time.

Here are some more helpful resources on improving what (and how) you eat.

Answering men’s nutrition questions

Stay strong with good nutrition this year

Eat and drink healthy this summer

Get moving

Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Best of all, you can build a workout regimen that meets your needs and fits your interests. The CDC recommends:

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week AND muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week
  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week AND muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week
  • An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise on 2 or more days AND muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week

Not sure what each of those activities includes? We’ve listed a few of our favorite moderate- and vigorous aerobic exercises and muscle-strengthening exercises you can try.

If you’ve recently had an illness, such as COVID-19, be sure to talk to your doctor about how to ease yourself back into an exercise routine.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activities

Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping enough for you to break a sweat and makes you breathe harder. One simple test is the “talk test.” You should be able to talk to your exercise buddy, but not sing your favorite song. Here are a few examples of moderate-intensity workouts:

  • Brisk walking
  • Doubles tennis
  • Cutting the grass
  • Aquatic exercises
  • Bike riding

Vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise

Vigorous exercise is just what it sounds like – Your heart is pumping harder and you’re breathing hard and fast. You should still be able to say a few words during vigorous exercise, but it’s much harder to carry on a whole conversation.

You should talk to your doctor before starting vigorous-intensity exercise. They can help you get your fitness up to a level that makes it safe (and more enjoyable!) to try tougher workouts like the following:

  • Running
  • Swimming laps
  • Basketball
  • Singles tennis
  • Bike riding (on a hilly or challenging course)

Strength-building exercise

Building muscle helps keep your whole body healthy and strong. It also promotes heart and lung health and even builds bone strength. Here are some strength-building exercises you can try:

  • Lift weights
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Heavy gardening

Here are some more resources to help you stay healthy and injury-free during workouts:

Protect yourself from injury when playing sports

How to stay hydrated

Let’s go!

This Men’s Health Awareness Month, we hope you spend a little time thinking about the goals you have for living a healthy lifestyle. And remember, your doctor can help create a nutrition and exercise plan that’s right for you.

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Find a doctor

If you need to find a doctor specializing in men’s health, you can use our provider directory. Through Providence Express Care Virtual, you can also access a full range of health care services.

Download the Providence App

We’re with you, wherever you are. Make Providence’s app your personalized connection to your health. Schedule appointments, conduct virtual visits, message your doctor, view your health records, and more. Learn more and download the app.

Related resources

Men’s Health Month: 5 ways you can help his health

Movember: Whiskers for a cause

Celebrating Father’s Day at home or from afar

 

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

 

About the Author

The Providence Health Team brings together caregivers from diverse backgrounds to bring you clinically-sound, data-driven advice to help you live your happiest and healthiest selves.

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