This week is Men’s Health Week (14 – 20 June). The purpose of the week is to raise awareness about the importance of male health and encourage men to seek support and regular medical check-ups.
A survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation found that men are far less likely than women to seek professional support or attend screenings, as well as being less likely to disclose a mental health problem to friends and family. The awareness week aims to encourage more men to take a proactive approach towards their health and not be ashamed to ask for support.
Physical and mental health are both important aspects of a person’s general wellbeing and neither should be overlooked. While some health problems are sadly unavoidable, there are a number of steps you can take to maintain or improve your whole-person health. A few simple lifestyle changes can go a long way towards improving the quality of your life, as well as boosting your mood, increasing your energy levels and changing how you feel, so you can live life to the full.
Here are a few easy ways you can work towards a healthier lifestyle with just a few alterations to your everyday life.
- Eat a healthy diet
Incorporating plenty of fruit, vegetables and lean protein in to your daily meals is a perfect foundation for a healthy, balanced diet. Men are more susceptible to coronary heart disease, particularly from a younger age, so eating a diet which is low in saturated fats and maintaining a healthy body weight could help prevent heart disease from developing.
Vegetables, in particular leafy greens, and fruit are packed full of nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants that help to boost your immune system and fight off disease causing toxins. Antioxidants help fight eye disease, promote healthy skin, and improve overall health. The World Health Organisation recommends eating at least five different servings of fruit and veg each day to gets those all-important, disease-fighting nutrients.
- Drink water
If you’ve got in to the habit of quenching your thirst with sugary, fizzy drinks, caffeine or even calorie-laden alcohol then this can be detrimental to your health, teeth and waistline. Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of health problems, such as liver disease and cancer, as well as being linked to depression. Instead, you can save money and improve your health by drinking more water. This natural liquid offers the benefit of hydration, nourishment, and improved well-being. Water can also cleanse toxins from the body, improve brain function, energise muscles, control weight gain, and balance body temperature and fluids– not bad for something that comes out of the tap!
It’s recommended you drink about 8 glasses, of water per day for optimum health, spaced out throughout the day. If you do want to enjoy an alcoholic drink, men are advised not to drink more than 14 units per week, spread out through out the week, that’s the equivalent of 6-pints of average strength beer.
- Don’t overlook your mental health
When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to concentrate on the physical aspects of wellbeing and ignore your mental health. The past 18-months have been a stressful time but it’s important to remember that your mental health is at the heart of your overall health. Sadly, male suicide rates have hit a two-decade high and studies have found that men are less likely to seek support, either from family and friends or professionally. There are a number of organisations which are on hand to offer friendly, confidential support should you need it, or you might find talking to friends or family members helpful.
There are a few things you can do to nurture your metal health which have been proven to have a positive effect, including; exercising regularly, socialising and spending time with loved ones as well as getting plenty of quality sleep each night – ideally 8 hours. All of these are simple steps can be incorporated in to everyday life and can work wonders for your mental health.
Easier said than done sometimes as life is hectic and it’s all too easy to get caught up in the non-stop daily routine, but sometimes it’s beneficial to stop, take a deep breath, and relax. Setting aside time to relax and focus on techniques aimed at de-stressing, or simply doing something you enjoy can not only have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, it can also make you more productive in other aspects of your life. Take some time out to try some new, relaxing activities. What works for one person might not necessarily work for you, so try meditation, yoga or listen to music, read, watch a film, or going for a run – the choice is yours. These activities can really help you to unwind and regain a sense of calm for some much-needed head-space.
The secret to better health, both mentally and physically could lie in exercise. Whether you’re 9 or 90, research shows that exercise is one of the best ways to enhance your overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, we are now leading more sedentary lifestyles which means our physical health is getting neglected. It’s recommended that we exercise at least three times a week, aiming for 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This can be broken down in to shorter sessions throughout the day, so you might start your day with a quick swim or a jog to feel energised for the rest of the day and then go to the gym or to a group exercise class in the evening.
The key is to get moving, the more you do, the more you’ll improve your general health and could ward off heart disease, which men are more prone to. Some fun physical activities for you try might be: swimming, yoga, running, cycling or even gardening.
Remember, you are responsible for your own health and are encouraged to take a proactive approach towards it. Even small changes to your lifestyle can make a big difference, both today and in the long run.