June is National Men’s Health Month
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June is National Men’s Health Month. And while it is valuable to observe a health awareness month so that we remember the importance of good health for men, it’s easy to practice healthy habits throughout the year. Here are a few tips that can do wonders to lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight.
Get a good night’s sleep
Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. Lack of sleep is often the cause of motor vehicle and machine-related accidents, resulting in injury and disabilities each year. The National Sleep Foundation notes that adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and suggests the following to get help fall asleep:
- Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
- Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor cold.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime
If getting to sleep is still an issue, check with your physician. The cause for your sleeplessness could be conditions such as insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome (RLS) or sleep apnea, all of which your physician can treat if properly diagnosed.
Keep moving. Studies show that for good health adults need at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week. In addition, you need muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
While 2.5 hours, or 150 minutes, sounds like a lot, the good news is that you don’t have to do it all at once—you can spread your activity throughout the week, as long as you’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of vitamins, minerals and other substances that protect you from chronic diseases. Make sure your dinner plate contains 50% fruit and vegetables, 25% starch (preferably whole grains) and 25% protein.
Limit foods and drinks that are high in calories, such as sugar, salt, fat and alcohol, and choose healthy snacks like carrots with humus instead of potato chips, or water instead of soda or juice.
Kicking the smoking habit has numerous immediate and long-term benefits such as lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease and other smoking-related illnesses.
No doubt stress can be positive—it can help you develop skills needed to manage potentially threatening situations in life—but stress that is severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control is harmful to your system. Strong emotions like fear, sadness, or other symptoms of depression are normal, as long as they are temporary and don’t interfere with daily activities. Try exercise and meditation for stress relief and talk to your physician or therapist if symptoms do not subside.
Finally, be sure to keep up with your preventive medical tests and screenings, and keep track of your numbers for blood pressure blood glucose, cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). Don’t forget to pay attention to signs or symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath and excessive thirst.
At Brown & Toland, our doctors are committed to providing their patients high-quality, affordable care that extends into the areas where you live, work, and play. Remember, your doctor is your partner on the road to good health and it’s never too late to start the journey.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Healthfinder.gov