Movember – What can we do to look after our men’s health?

Across the world, men die an average of six years younger than women and for reasons that potentially can be preventable so the importance of a healthy lifestyle is paramount.

If you have a busy schedule, you may find it hard to make time for regular exercise, sleep and stress-reducing activities, and you may find yourself eating on-the-go with too many takeouts, coffees and after work thirst quenchers. But you can’t afford to be passive about your health. 

This MOVEMBER, take a proactive approach by following these basic health tips for men’s health.

Stress has been termed the health epidemic of the 21st century by the World Health Organisation. It can have significant repercussions on our health in both the short and long run. 

Whilst certain stressors may be unavoidable, there are ways to reduce stress aggravators and triggers such as over consumption of sugars, caffeine and alcohol. Try to bring balance to your blood sugar through eating regular, well balanced meals, reduce your reliance on caffeine if above two cups of coffee (or seven cups of caffeinated tea) and avoid regular drinking when possible. 

Regular physical activity is associated with lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. It has long been recommended to control weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. The World Health Organisation recommends that adults do 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity activity or 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity.

The key? Find something you love, whether that is boxing, running, rugby or football, and make it part of your weekly routine to get long-term benefits. 

A delicious steak and a large pint may make for a nice treat every so often, but when it comes to everyday meals, men should opt for a heart-healthy diet that is rich in nutrients that can help to control weight, lower cholesterol and boost health.

Ensure you are getting in 5-7 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day to ensure optimal intake of antioxidants, polyphenols, fibre, vitamins and minerals, all of which play important roles in fighting disease and reducing inflammation.

And don’t fear certain fats. Monounsaturated fats from sources such as olive oil, almonds, cashews and avocados are fantastic for heart health. Additionally, omega 3s have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the risk of chronic disease. You can find omega 3s in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies or some plant-based sources such as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts.

Men are notorious for avoiding the doctor and ignoring unusual symptoms which may account for why they have shorter life expectancies. 

Don’t let complacency take a fatal toll on your health. If you are under 40, schedule annual check-ups with your doctor. If you are over the age of 40, ensure you are checking in every 6 months. Your doctor can help monitor your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, nutritional deficiencies and symptoms of certain cancers including prostate cancer.

Not getting enough sleep does a disservice to both our brain and our physical health. Long-term sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on our weight, hormone balance, energy production, stress levels and cardiovascular health.

Men aged 18-65 should aim for 7-9 hours sleep per night. To help hit this number, try these top sleep tips:

  • Refrain from drinking coffee for at least six hours before bed.
  • Avoid using electronic devices that emit blue lights after sundown (or install blue light blocking apps).
  • Maintain a routine with a structured bedtime and rise time when possible.