Getting Fit and Staying Healthy For A Better Life
) -- The concept is pretty simple. Get active, eat healthy and you can live a longer, much happier life. But putting those concepts in action can be difficult for a lot of men.
While the life-expectancy gap between men and women has decreased, it's no secret that men need to pay more attention to their bodies. Several things work against us: we smoke and drink more than women; we also tend to be more sexually promiscuous than women; we don't seek medical help as often as women; and some men are defined by their work, which can increase stress.
There are also health conditions that only affect men, such as prostate cancer and low testosterone. Several major health risks that men face--like colon cancer or heart disease--can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis. screening tests can find diseases early and make treating those diseases much easier. After age 35, it's important to have regular checkups and screenings.
According to long-term research conducted by the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the National Library of Medicine, men can take serveral important steps to stay healthy:
- Be physically active. Walking briskly, mowing the lawn, playing team sports, and biking are just a few examples of how you can get moving. If you are not already physically active, start small and work up to 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity for most days of the week.
- Eat a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products are healthy choices. Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts are good, too. Try to eat foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
- Stay at a healthy weight.Try to balance the calories you take in with the calories you burn with your physical activities. As you age, eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity. This will prevent gradual weight gain over time. You should also measure your Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all. Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, you do not exceed 2 drinks per day for men (1 drink per day for women). Some people should not drink alcoholic beverages at all, including:
- Individuals who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels.
- Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that requires attention, skill, or coordination.
- Individuals taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
- Individuals with specific medical conditions.
- Persons recovering from alcoholism.
- Don't smoke. It's extremely bad for you. Plain and simple. If you smoke and want to quit, you need to make a plan. For more information about how to quit, get help by calling the National Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW (784-8669) or visit www.smokefree.gov.
- Take aspirin to avoid a heart attack. If you are at risk for a heart attack (you're over 45, smoke, or have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease), check with your doctor and find out if taking aspirin is the right choice for you.