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Men's Health Week: Tips to Keep You Healthy and Strong

06-15-2015

Take Charge of Your Health

With work, family and day-to-day responsibilities, our personal health is often the furthest thing from our mind and can easily be neglected. As we age, our health faces key threats and it’s important to be aware of these risks to ensure long-term health and wellbeing.

In observance of National Men’s Health Week, June 15-21, CaroMont Health is encouraging men and those closest to them to make a conscious effort to make their health a priority by following these daily steps to be healthier and stronger.

Rest up.

Getting the recommended eight hours of sleep each night may be difficult at times, but it is extremely important to your health! Life happens and we may be forced to take on the occasional work day with limited sleep and to make up for it, we may choose to go to bed early or sleep in later. Understanding how lack of sleep impacts your health enables you to make better decisions for not only you, but your family. Insufficient sleep over a prolonged period of time is associated with certain chronic disease and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. Not getting enough rest also has been linked to motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents. According to sleep guidelines by the National Sleep Association, sleep needs change with age, but the average adult should aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

Kick the habit.

Your wife has been nagging you about it for years, and you know it’s bad for your health, but quitting smoking is no easy task. Experts don’t call it an addiction for nothing. Despite the strong desire to quit, more than 85 percent of those who make an attempt to quit on their own will fail and unfortunately, the health risks that come with continuing to smoking are significant.

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, some of which are immediate, like increasing blood pressure. The long-term impact of smoking can lead to serious conditions like lung cancer and heart disease. On the contrary, choosing to quit smoking has immediate and long-term benefits on your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease and other smoking-related illnesses.

The key to successfully quitting smoking is to have a plan. Pick your quite date and announce it to others to hold you accountable. Also, remove any triggers that may tempt you and identify a place or people to turn to for immediate help CaroMont’s Quit Smart program is a proven effective program to help people stop smoking for good. For more information, visit caromonthealth.org or call 704.834.7930.

Physical Activity

If you want to stay healthy, you have to move. Adults need an average of 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of moderate-aerobic activity per week and muscle training activities that incorporate the entire body on two or more days each week. Aerobic activity or “cardio” elevates your heart rate and the intensity level of aerobic activity is gauged as low, moderate to high intensity. For most people, daily activities like shopping, cooking or doing laundry are considered low intensity because they don’t necessarily get your heart beating faster. Moderate intensity activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat such as brisk walking, pushing a lawn mower or playing double tennis. High or vigorous intensity aerobic activity means your heart rate is up and you’re only able to say a few words before needing to take a breath. Examples of high intensity activity are jogging, playing single tennis or riding a bike fast or uphill. Remember to consult your doctor before you begin any exercise regimen.

Stress Management

Some stress is good, but severe stress over an extended period of time is bad for your health. Common symptoms of stress and reaction to a stressful event include tension and irritability, anxiety about the future, difficulty making decisions, loss of appetite and sleeping problems, to name a few.

The best way to cope with stress is by taking care of yourself and work to eliminate or manage stress in your life. You should also avoid drugs and alcohol, even though they may seem like quick fixes. Find support from a partner, friend or family member to express your feelings to and to help lighten the burden. After a stressful event, it’s not unusual to want to isolate yourself. Instead, seek social opportunities like spending time with your kids or attending a gathering at a friend’s house after work. Keep your mind and body occupied by staying active through exercise, helping a neighbor with yard work or even taking your dog on more frequent walks.

Regular Check-Ups and Screenings

Gentlemen, it’s important to stay on top of your “health” game. Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to be sure you’re addressing all health concerns, even those that may not present with symptoms. Regular check-ups and screenings help diagnose issues early or before they become a problem. There are many diseases that only affect men such as prostate cancer, but it’s highly treatable if detected early.

Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and ask your doctor what these numbers mean if you have questions. Also, don’t forget about your vaccinations. Vaccinations aren’t just for children; everyone needs immunizations to stay healthy based on a variety of factors, including age, overall health and your medical history.

There are many things you can do to improve your health and to stay healthy at any age. Choose today to take charge of your health!

Article provided by: Kenneth Burgess, MD at Gaston Family Medicine in Gastonia. Dr. Burgess has been providing services to patients in Gaston County and the surrounding area since 1988. He has more than 35 years of experience in caring for adults and their families. For more information about Gaston Family Medicine, click here.

Categories: Health