In Canada, the entire month of June is dedicated to Men's Health. In fact, International Men's Health Week is June 13 - 19th this year and its goal is to increase awareness of male health issues, globally!
You may ask yourself why an entire month is dedicated to men's health? Well, the fact is that Canadian men are not living as long as women. On average, the life expectancy of men is 79.9years and for women, it is 84 years.
Researchers don't exactly know the reason for this difference, but there are a number of factors to consider, such as lifestyle habits, activity levels, and stress. Some feel it may be due to men not "taking care of themselves" as well as women do. According to HealthInAging.org, surveys have found that women are much more likely to have a regular healthcare provider, and to see their provider within the course of the year, than men are. Men are also more likely to engage in “risky” behaviors – like smoking and drinking heavily – than women.
In this week's Health & Wellness blog, we are sharing some tips designed for men over the age of 50 years old to improve or maintain their health as they age.
Regular Health Checks - Even if you feel perfectly healthy, seeing your health care provider at least once a year can assist in determining any underlying concerns and preventative action for a number of diseases and health issues men face as they age.
Seek Help When Needed - An ongoing concern in men's health is that many do not seek help when they are not feeling well, or will delay seeking help for a few days to even a week. Prompt medical care can make a big difference - so don't wait!
Reduce Stress - The Men's Health Foundation of Canada provides a number of resources for men's health as well as their annual campaign called "Move For Your Mental Health". Many men (of all ages) struggle with feelings of isolation, work-related stress/demands, financial concerns, and general anxiety. Reducing your levels of stress by becoming more active (even if it's a short walk outdoors), practicing mindfulness and meditation, or even spending time with others can significantly boost your mood and help you keep mentally, physically and emotionally fit.
Don't Smoke; Quit If You Do - It's never too late to quit smoking. Contacting your healthcare provider for resources or reviewing information online on the Government of Canada website can offer a variety of guides and local organization services that can help.
Drink in Moderation - According to Health in Aging, for older men, moderate drinking means no more than 3 drinks on a given day or 7 drinks total in a week. (One drink = 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.) If you have a health problem or take certain medications, you may need to drink less or not at all. Ask your health care provider for information on what is right for you.
Proper Nutrition - In order to reduce the risk of falls as you age, be sure to get plenty of bone-healthy calcium and vitamin D daily. Discuss with your healthcare provider for the right supplements and the recommended daily amount that is right for you. Also, as we age, our appetites begin to change, therefore we require fewer calories and more vitamin and nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables and a reduction in fatty meats.
Get Active - Exercising your brain and your body are key to maintaining a healthy aging body and mind. Join book clubs, Sign up for classes at your local library, recreation centre or senior centre. Working with puzzles, sudoku or crossword games can also benefit a healthy aging mind. Getting regular physical exercise is also important for good health, no matter how old you are. The benefits of exercise range from reducing stress/anxiety, toning muscles, preventing injuries and fall prevention to strengthening bones and increasing brain function. Start slowly, with your health care provider's advice, by taking short daily walks.
In next week's Health & Wellness blog we will discuss some of the main health issues affecting men and some things you can do to reduce the risk.
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