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7 Health Tips for Men

Men face some specific health challenges, but there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Want to live a longer, healthier life? If you’re a man, your chances are better than ever. A man born in 1900 could expect to live until age 46. But according to the most recent data (from 2015), male babies born in 2015 were expected to live for 76 years. Want to make every year count — and even beat the odds? Let’s look at seven steps that can help you live a full and active life for many years to come.

  1. Get moving. Just over half of adult men meet the recommended levels of aerobic (endurance) exercise. So, half of men do not meet those levels. But being active may help you manage weight, ward off some chronic diseases, keep bones stronger and improve mood.
  2. Strive for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity endurance exercise (brisk walking, biking) and two or more days a week of muscle-building exercises that work all the major muscle groups — legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.

  3. Eat a healthy diet. Make sure it’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Limit added salt and added sugars. Vary your protein sources between lean meats, dried beans and peas, and seafood.

  4. Maintain a healthy weight. Balancing calories is key. Eat and drink fewer calories than you burn in a day to lose weight. Try eating nutrient-dense foods that will fill you up, exercising on all or most days of the week, and controlling your portions.

  5. Get preventive care, including screenings, wellness exams, vaccines and counseling.

    1. Screenings can help find warning signs or catch a disease early so it can be more easily treated. Recommendations may be based on your age, health and family history. Your doctor may screen for cholesterol, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases or depression.

      Ask your doctor about prostate screening. The current draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) suggest that men aged 55 to 69 talk with their doctor about possible benefits and potential risks, then make a personal decision from there. For men ages 70 years and older, the draft recommends against prostate screening.   

    2. A wellness exam can help you find out how healthy you are and identify issues before they become more serious. Ask your doctor how often you should schedule a wellness exam.

    3. Vaccines can help protect you from getting a disease. The flu vaccine is recommended for almost everyone six months and older. There’s also a vaccine to help prevent pneumonia and hepatitis B. Make sure you’re up-to-date on all your vaccines.

    4. Counseling is the third part of preventive services. It is having open communication with your health care provider. Topics you might discuss include stress, smoking or alcohol use, obesity, or concerns about depression, anxiety or other behavioral health issues.

  6. If you use tobacco, take steps to quit. About one in six adult men still smoke cigarettes, despite the health risks. Tobacco smoke affects almost every part of your body. You’re more likely to get certain diseases, have weaker bones or suffer from erectile dysfunction. And smokeless tobacco carries risks as well.
  7. Every day you don’t smoke can help your body recover. Your doctor can help you develop a quit plan and may suggest medications to wean you off nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco.

  8. Control your alcohol intake. Almost a third of adult men report they have had five or more drinks in one sitting at least one time in the past year. This is sometimes known as binge drinking. It is about twice as common in men as it is in women. If you choose to drink, limit your intake to two drinks a day. (Women should limit it to one.)

  9. Be careful out there! Accidents are a leading cause of death. Take precautions while playing sports and being active; remember to wear a helmet when appropriate, and use sunscreen. Always wear your seat belt when driving or riding in a car.

Take good care of your years ahead — your health will be happy you did!

By Ginny Greene, Contributing Editor

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fast stats. Men’s health. Accessed February 13, 2018.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC prevention checklist. Accessed February 13, 2018.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Accessed February 13, 2018.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. Accessed February 13, 2018.

Updated March 12, 2018