Many men ignore their mental and physical health, which may cause them to develop preventable illnesses that take years off their lives. Having a preventive mindset is one way to be a better steward of your overall well-being. This Men’s Health Month, here are some proactive steps you should take to avoid illness and stay healthy at every stage of your life.
1. Get Screened for Heart Disease
Even if you have no apparent symptoms, you may still be at risk for high blood pressure and other forms of cardiovascular disease. You can take an active role in your heart health by taking your blood pressure, getting routine checkups and being aware of your unique risk factors. Eat a balanced diet, quit smoking, stay active, reduce stress and take other measures as instructed by your health provider.
2. Work to Prevent Cancer
Common cancers diagnosed in men include skin, prostate, colorectal and lung cancers. A combination of a healthy lifestyle and regular screenings can help you stay cancer-free. To reduce your risk of various cancers, wear sunscreen, cut back on meat, quit smoking and talk to your doctor about other preventive measures.
3. Exercise Regularly
The physical and mental health benefits that come with getting in shape are well-documented, but you might still have trouble finding the motivation to work out. If you don’t already have an exercise regimen, use Men’s Health Month as your opportunity to start one.
- Work out with a friend or partner – that way, you can keep each other accountable.
- Choose an activity you enjoy. For example, if you’ve tried jogging and couldn’t stick with it, try swimming, biking, rock climbing or hiking instead.
- Join a recreational sports league. Games like kickball and softball are an excellent way to get active. You’ll elevate your heart rate and burn calories without it feeling like a chore. You could even make some new friends along the way.
- If it’s hard to carve out time in your schedule, try “exercise snacking.” With this approach, you squeeze in brief periods of activity whenever you have a few free minutes, instead of spending an hour in the gym each day.
4. Know the Signs of Depression
Some men are depressed without realizing it because the symptoms don’t always align with what they expect. Men may experience depression as anger or irritability instead of sadness and hopelessness. You might also prefer to try ignoring your feelings instead of exploring them. If you are having any mood irregularities, take the first step by speaking with a therapist or counselor.
5. Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms
If you regularly use alcohol and drugs to help you relax and feel good about yourself, you are compromising your health in more ways than one. These substances can change your brain to a point where you no longer feel like yourself unless you’re drinking or using. Long-term use will also put you on a path to addiction, cause significant organ damage and compromise your relationships with friends and family members.
Be Proactive About Your Health
You only get one body, so it’s crucial to prioritize your well-being by taking an active role in your health. Form a partnership with a therapist or general provider who can guide you toward recommended tests, answer any questions you may have and put you on a path to improved wellness.
At PACE Recovery Center, we address all facets of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We’ve designed our Orange County gender-specific treatment specifically to empower men to experience the freedom of a substance-free lifestyle. Speak with our admissions team to learn more about how we can help you live life on your terms.