Every day, do at least one thing that supports your health. It doesn’t have to involve expensive or time-consuming activities you can’t afford. It doesn’t have to be something you feel uncomfortable doing. It simply needs to be an act of showing care for the body you live in, in whatever manner you choose to do. Your health matters to those who love you and it should also matter to you.
Men, it’s your life and your health, let’s take care of it. Here are 5 examples of things you can do today to begin leading a healthier life:
Do sunrise sweat sessions
Kick-start your day with an early morning workout. Most guys know they need to move more by being more physically active. Movement is essential to maintaining a healthy body. The advantages of regular exercise far outweigh any disadvantages it may bring. For example, regular, consistent exercise burns calories keeping weight in check, may increase testosterone levels, lowers the risk of developing diabetes, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers such as lung or colorectal, and overall enhances the quality of life.
However, it can be difficult finding the time to sneak in exercise with a full schedule. Try going to bed about 15 minutes earlier in order to wake up 15 minutes earlier. Use this extra time at the beginning of your day to move – go for a brisk walk or run, lift weights, jump rope to music, do yoga, stationary bike or rely on an online or DVD workout. This early morning exercise fest, even just 15 minutes (but do more if you have the time), helps get the blood circulation moving, increases heart rate, releases stress calming you for the day, improves mood and outlook, and wakes you up ready to face the day. Plus, getting up and out earlier in the morning makes sure that a workout happens.
Lather on sunscreen daily year-round
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men yet most men do not apply sunscreen regularly. This disregard for wearing sunscreen makes men more vulnerable to sunburn and sun damage, which can further cause pigmentation and aging of the skin. Men usually pay little attention to the use or need for sunscreen until maybe later in life when skin issues become more noticeable and their dermatologist is demanding they wear it.
Sunscreen for men is essential for skin protection. The UVA and UVB rays from the sun do equal damage to the skin of both men and women. These damaging rays can penetrate deeply into skin-damaging collagen while sunburns affect the skin’s outer layer. Wearing sunscreen regularly reduces lifetime exposure of skin to these harmful sun rays as it shields skin from their adverse effects.
If men want to avoid a diagnosis of basal cell, squamous cell, or deadly malignant melanoma, in addition to unsightly lines and wrinkles and age spots, wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 50 every day of the year will provide skin protection reducing these skin issues.
Get to bed earlier
There are many reasons why early to bed and early to rise has been a famous quote for decades. It makes sense for good health. Night owls, staying awake until the wee hours of the morning with insufficient sleep, are hurting their health.
The importance of sleep to overall health and wellness is well-researched. For example, anyone getting less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night has a greater risk of developing diseases. Consider that sleep keeps your heart healthy. Heart attacks and strokes are more likely to occur during the early morning hours. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, both risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Even cancer prevention may be improved from a good night’s sleep. Men who work a night shift have a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Research suggests that light exposure reduces melatonin levels, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle that is believed to protect against cancer. In addition, good sleep helps men feel more energized and alert, relieves stress and inflammation, and can help improve weight loss.
Obtaining between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night is recommended. Following good sleep hygiene is a must for men to get the sleep they deserve.
Make water your beverage of choice
Most men know the importance of staying hydrated. But instead of reaching for a soda, sweet tea, sweetened sports drink, or sugar-laden coffee drink, grab water instead. Excess sugar can lead to inflammation in the body harming gums, your heart, and contributes to weight gain. In fact, substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar-sweetened soda will you about 240 calories. Water is easily found, relatively inexpensive, and free of calories. Best of all, it’s the best fluid choice for keeping well-hydrated. Plus water keeps body temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects the spinal cord, and gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
Water makes up about 65 percent of an adult’s body weight. Certain “watery” foods supply us with water – fruits and veggies – it’s important to replenish water for losses during the day. Adults should aim at half their body weight in ounces of water per day. This means a man weighing 180 pounds should try to drink about 90 ounces of water daily.
It’s easy to keep water nearby: Carry a water bottle when at work; choose water when eating out as it saves money and calories; to improve the taste, add a wedge of lime or lemon to water.
Practice stress management
From their jobs to family life, men can experience high levels of stress. Stress not only can lead to chronic anxiety and depression but also is negatively affecting health and can be life-threatening. You may think your irritating headache, frequent insomnia, or reduced productivity at work is due to an illness, stress may actually be the cause.
Stress left unchecked can contribute to many health problems for men, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Although it’s impossible to remove all stress, taking steps to manage stress is achievable. Begin today using the following stress management strategies:
- Get regular physical activity
- Practice relaxation techniques – deep breathing, meditation, yoga, of massage
- Keep a sense of humor
- Spend time with family and friends
- Set aside time for hobbies such as listening to music, fishing, golfing, or hiking