It’s Men’s Health Week and we’re here to share the facts, spread awareness and break down the best ways all you fellas out there can up your wellness game to prevent the health issues that target you specifically.
This year’s Men Health Week focus is belly fat – to put it in numbers, a shocking 67% of all men in the UK weigh in at obese. Belly fat is not merely a ‘beer belly’ issue, rather it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes to name a few. Moreover, if you’re a man who suffers from stress, is trying to quit bad habits, needs fitness and weight loss tips, or needs the knowledge and motivation to make a positive change in your life, here’s the low down on how you can stay on top of your health so that you can live your best self.
What men can do to maintain and improve overall health
Exercise is of course one of the essential keys to living to your optimal level – and here’s why. Regular activity decreases stress, promotes better mental health and prevents the risk of more serious illnesses developing like heart disease and diabetes. However, many people get put off by the idea of exercise because they fear extreme strenuous physical activity, which can also lead to feelings of low confidence… an obvious catch 22. If you struggle with the motivation to exercise, start by making small tweaks to your daily routine, like taking the stairs, the longer walk home, moving around often from your office chair etc.
According to study conducted by the NHS, adult males should be incorporating either 150 minutes of cardio exercises like spinning, or 75 minutes of higher intensity training like tennis or playing a field sport per week. Men also need to focus on their major muscle groups and should do strength and weight training at least twice a week.
The most important element of exercise is to ensure that you’re actually enjoying it and are safe. Whether you’re pumping iron in the gym or playing alongside teammates, make sure to stretch before, understand how to use machines/weights correctly to prevent injury, and rest the body after vigorous activity. You can create a healthy routine for yourself with regular exercise that works just for you.
2. Break bad habits
It’s vital to understand how the bad habits you may have can fuel others, like excessive drinking and smoking. With summer in full swing, it’s easy to want to head down to the pub and drink your life or work stresses away. Binge drinking in itself can cause major mental health problems as well as liver cancer and dementia. When drinking for a long period of time, many people tend to reach for cigarettes and end up smoking the day and night away thanks to the encouragement of alcohol.
Smokers and heavy drinkers are more prone to serious health risks like strokes, heart disease and even impotence. From patches to hypnotherapy, through to alternating alcoholic beverages with water or soft drinks, there are various effective ways to tackle these bad habits like e-cigarettes, which are endorsed by the NHS. In fact, research conducted by the Vape Club show that vapes or e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative to smoking as they are a whopping 95% less harmful.
After you quit smoking and drinking heavily, things change rather quickly. Lung capacity improves and cravings dissipate in only two weeks, giving you the encouragement and freedom to focus more on healthy habits. This way you’ll be able to tackle pressing concerns you may be experiencing like mind fog and even impotence.
3. Get a hold on stress
Bad habits develop from a root cause, and stress is usually the main culprit. To help manage stress as a whole, you need to try and identify the triggers of stress. Emotional pressures at home or at work, pessimism, unrealistic expectations and even financial issues can all be the tools for stress to breed. Because it's caused from various issues, stress manifests as many different symtoms, like depression, anxiety, digestive problems, skin conditions and can be apparent in your sex life too.
However there are a number of ways you can combat stress, and promoting your personal health and happiness is the first step. Setting time aside to reconnect with family and friends can greatly ease the build up of negativity and pressure. In the office, make sure that you’re organised and prepared for the next working day so as to ease the metaphorical weight on your shoulders. Both mental and physical health are equally important.
4. Listen to your body
Men are far less likely to attend regular physical checkups than women. A large number of men rely on their female partners for wellness support as opposed to seeing a medical professional. This may be because men see asking for help as not ‘manly’ and as a sign of vulnerability. This disillusion is very dangerous both mentally and physically, as unaddressed symptoms may worsen.
To stay on top of your health, you should be aware of certain feelings you may be ignoring. Are you waking up tired in the morning after a long night’s sleep? Are you craving more alcohol than usual? Are you getting your eyes tested every two years? Are you checking yourself in the shower? Are you visiting a dentist every six months? Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, rather a sign of strength.
Taking care of your body and mind are equally important to living your best self. In honour of Men’s Health Awareness Week, make sure you are doing right by you – exercise regularly, get check ups and share your burdens and concerns with loved ones.
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