Bringing Awareness to Men's Health Issues

two men jogging outdoors on blue cloudy sky

Men's Health Month: Tips for Every Age

June is national men’s health month with a goal of encouraging boys and men to take charge of their overall health by implementing healthy lifestyle decisions.

When you are young, you feel invincible, and health is something you don’t give too much thought. I grew up not thinking about the importance of good health because I lived in a homogenous country, where most people did physical labor, and food was simple, unprocessed, and straight from the ocean or the pasture. Growing up, I didn’t experience people with lifestyle diseases and for most, going to the doctor wasn’t thought to be necessary unless it was something serious, often accident related. A lot has changed and now, as I turn 50 years old, I am not only concerned about my health, but also the health of my fellow men.

I encourage everyone to see the doctor once a year, but why is it more important to encourage men to visit the doctor than women? Well, first it is well documented that women are significantly more likely to visit the doctor than men. More than 60% of men believe they can skip seeing the doctor because they are “naturally healthier than most people” (Orlando Health).

In a 2022 Cleveland Clinic survey of 1,000 U.S. men, 55% said they don’t get regular health screening and men of color were even less likely (63%) to see a doctor regularly.

Some men shy away from seeing doctors because they fear receiving bad news. Men don’t usually discuss health issues with their male friends, and young men are not encouraged to see a doctor, as women do with annual OB-GYN appointments. Then there are the types that were around me when I grew up—men with traditional beliefs, oozing masculinity that will not see a doctor over something minor, instead choosing to toughen it out, believing they will come out stronger on the other side. As these men grow older, lack of routine medical care can often have serious consequences. At the same time, they never miss taking their car for routine maintenance.

I am not here to say that going to see the doctor will fix everything, but some of the leading causes of death, like heart disease and diabetes are important conditions that doctors screen for during routine checkups.

My routine and advice is simple:

  1. Sleep at least 7 hours each night
  2. Drink a lot of water and limit sugary beverages
  3. Eat lots of vegetables
  4. Exercise regularly
  5. Try to abide by the 80/20 rule, 80% healthy, 20% not so healthy
  6. Practice mindfulness
  7. See your doctor once a year

Create positive habits with food, exercise, and sleep—consistency is key. I am so grateful that my mind and body functions as well as it does. Some of it may be genetics, but I work hard to be well. It is my decision to be healthy and it is my intention to be happy and healthy as I age. Treat yourself to a checkup and be good to your body, so that your body will be good to you.