This Father’s Day, you deserve all the funny coffee mugs, grilling gear and Hallmark sentiments that come your way. But this month also offers more than the opportunity to commemorate your awesome Dad-ness.
June is Men’s Health Month, a time to shine a light on men’s preventable health issues, encourage early detection of health issues, and improve overall physical and mental wellbeing.
All dad-joking aside, men’s health is serious business. Here are a few sobering statistics:
- Men are more likely to put their health at risk by smoking, drinking alcohol and making other unhealthy life choices.
- One in two men are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
- Men lead the death rate for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and suicide.
- Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men and one of the leading causes of cancer death among men. According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 175,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed each year.
- A Cleveland Clinic survey showed that more than 40% of men only go to the doctor when they think they have a serious medical condition.
Men’s Health Month is dedicated to changing those statistics. Here are three steps men can take to take better care of their health.
1. Make mental heath a priority
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, nearly 1 in 10 men experience depression or anxiety. Stigmas associated with mental health issues and pressures to “be a man” or “tough it out” may explain some more startling facts. Less than half of men who experience a mental health issue will receive treatment, and more than 4 times as many men as women die by suicide each year.
Here are some additional statistics from Mental Health America that may encourage more men to seek help.
- More than 3 million men in the U.S. have a panic disorder or phobias, including agoraphobia, an extreme fear of places and situations.
- 2.3 million Americans are affected by bipolar disorder. (An equal number of men and women develop the illness.) The age of onset for men is between 16 and 25 years old.
- Approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed schizophrenia; 90% of those diagnosed by age 30 are men.
- Although men account for around 10 percent of individuals who have an eating disorder, they are less likely to seek professional help.
Fortunately, mental health issues can be treated, and symptoms can be eased through self-care steps like exercise, healthy eating and better sleep.
Start the conversation. If you or the man in your life struggles with mental health issues, Indigo Virtual Care can help. Our virtual clinicians can help determine the right path to treatment. They can also prescribe medications to manage symptoms, make self-treatment recommendations around diet, exercise and sleep improvement, and coordinate a referral to a behavioral health specialist.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Good health starts with a healthy diet. Eating a regular, balanced diet not only provides the nourishment and fuel your body needs, but it also helps fight off and prevent disease.
As men age, healthy eating becomes even more important for men to protect against many medical conditions, including:
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Heart disease.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Colon, kidney, liver and gallbladder cancers.
An adequate supply of nutrients can also lift your mood and boost energy and focus. A healthy diet can also delay the effects of aging. For example, tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, which helps build collagen and can make your skin look firmer. Antioxidant- and vitamin-packed berries also promote skin regeneration and rejuvenation.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a healthy diet for men should include:
- 2 or more cups of fruits and 2½ cups of vegetables daily.
- Whole grains, such as barley, brown rice, and oatmeal.
- At least 38 grams of fiber per day for men under 50 and 30 grams of fiber per day for men older than 50. Good fiber sources include berries, popcorn, avocado, apples, nuts and whole grains.
- 2 to 3 servings of fish per week.
- Unsaturated fats, including oils, nuts, and oil-based salad dressings. (Skip the saturated fats like full-fat dairy foods, butter and high-fat sweets).
- 3,400 milligrams a day of potassium from fruits, vegetables, fish and dairy.
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, beans, lentils, nuts and peas.
Men are typically larger and have more muscle mass than women, so they usually need more calories throughout the day. On average, a moderately active male requires 2,200-2,800 calories and at least 50 grams of protein per day. Your specific energy needs are based on height, weight, age, activity level and medical history.
What’s on your plate? Eating right is important throughout all stages of life. An easy way to jumpstart and maintain a healthy eating routine is to create a personalized plan through MyPlate.
3. Keep moving
Regular exercise is great for everyone and one of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health.
For men, regular physical activity can:
- Improve overall physical health.
- Boost energy levels.
- Reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
- Build strength and endurance.
- Improve mental health and mood.
- Reduce stress and anxiety.
- Improve sleep.
- Reduce the risk of some cancers.
- Help maintain a healthy weight.
- Build bone density.
- Reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction and improve sexual health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. That doesn’t mean you need to carve out time for the gym or invest in pricey home fitness equipment. Even walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of many health problems. Adding in 30 minutes of strength training two or three days a week is even better.
Focus on flexibility. Men are generally less flexible than women. Stretching muscles regularly will help you move more efficiently and help you stay injury-free. Pay special attention to your hamstrings, shoulders and lower back.
Hey, Dad. Indigo is here for you.
At Indigo, every day is Father’s Day when it comes to treating your minor illnesses and injuries.
If you need care, simply book an online appointment or walk in to one of our convenient neighborhood locations. You can also schedule a Virtual Care visit to meet face-to-face with an Indigo clinician.
Either way, we’re here every day from 8 am to 8 pm, including weekends and holidays.