In Movember thousands of men in Canada grow mustaches as a means of raising awareness and important funds for some of the most pressing health issues men face. These include: mental health concerns; testicular and prostate cancer, and of course, physical inactivity.
The health of the boys and men in our lives matters, and happily, there are steps we can all take to encourage the active and healthy lifestyles that can go a long way towards preventing and managing disease.
For starters, it’s time to trade at least 30 minutes of sedentary or screen time each day for exercise. That’s right — it’s time to remind the men in our lives to power down, to get off the couch, and to lose the TV remote. Above all, it’s time to remind the men in our lives how much we care about them and that there’s nothing selfish about taking the time to invest in their health and happiness. In fact, it’s essential. Even if boys and men in your family are active and hit the gym every day, it’s important to caution them that an hour at the gym each day does not offset an otherwise sedentary day.
One simple way to boost physical and mental health? A daily walk. No, I don’t mean a slow “dawdle” around the block. I mean a put-your-heart-into-it brisk 30 minute walk tthe whole family can enjoy together, in all weather, every day. With or without poles (which can turn a regular walk into a full-body workout on par with cross country skiing) a brisk daily walk can reduce the risk of countless diseases, including diabetes, many forms of cancer, depression, heart disease, and more.
Since prevention is key, here are seven more ways to encourage the men in your life to make their health a priority:
- An annual physical: Annual check-ups, screening tests, and immunizations are among the most important things one can do to stay healthy.
- Family history: Learn about your family’s history of disease (i.e. a genetic predisposition for heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, etc., and find out what you can do to mitigate the risk of developing the same conditions. Have this conversation with your doctor.
- Eat well: The food choices we make on a daily basis have tremendous impact on our overall health. Ditch the junk food loaded with fat and sugar and choose fruits, veggies and whole grains; include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and eat foods low in saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars. Practice reading nutrition labels.
- Get moving: Adults need a minimum of 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity each week and unlike beer or chocolate cake, when it comes to our health and preventing disease, more is better. Strength training is important too. Click here to learn more.
- Cut back on the booze: No more than two drinks a day… the less the best.
- Go smoke free: Smoking is responsible for about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men. It’s time to butt out once and for all.
- Get a grip on stress: For tips on managing stress, click here.