Men, especially in the U.S., are often seen and portrayed as benefitting from life’s greatest advantages. But below the surface, millions of men are at risk for, or are experiencing, severe physical or mental health crises. Read on for our top men’s health tips for easing into a healthier lifestyle.
Men’s Health: The Sobering Stats
First, let’s address some concerning facts circulating in the men’s health community: men are more likely to die of chronic disease but less likely to visit the doctor for regular annual checkups and preventative care. They are also more likely than women to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or engage in risky behaviors.
Further, only a little over a quarter of men currently meet the recommended physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity, while about 40% of men in the U.S. are considered clinically obese. And the life expectancy gap between men and women in the U.S. is also the widest it’s been in a quarter century, coming in at about an average of six years higher for women.
With these stats in mind, we’ll cut to the chase: millions of men are suffering from critical yet often overlooked or undiscussed threats to their physical and mental well-being. But the good news is that healthy lifestyle habits, preventative health measures, and addressing stigmas can go a long way in promoting longevity in men.
Promoting Preventative Care for Men
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S. This is particularly discouraging because heart disease and other chronic conditions are highly treatable when caught early enough for medical intervention. But even some of the most responsible men may put their health and well-being on the back burner.
Solutions Through Tech
Regular annual checkups with a primary care physician are often overlooked but can be critical in early detection and disease prevention. And for men who hate going to the doctor, telehealth and virtual care options infuse the healthcare system with a new sense of privacy and convenience. If the man in your life hasn’t tried a virtual doctor’s visit from the comfort of home, it could be an easier way to dip a toe into the world of preventative care.
Encouraging Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Unhealthy habits like smoking, excess drinking, and sleep deprivation can be hard to break, but managing many of today’s health risks may come down to the power of habit. Establishing foundational habits like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and even starting a simple walking program or another fitness routine can quickly alter one’s overall risk profile.
Stress management—whether you exercise, pick up a hobby or personal enrichment activity, ditch the desk for some outdoor time, spend time with loved ones, or simply carve out more work-life balance—is also necessary.
Addressing Men’s Health Stigma
We also know that while promoting open dialogue and support around mental health issues is critical, it can be challenging to ask for help. Every year, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness or crisis, but fewer than half will receive treatment for it.
Balancing Privacy and Community
Apps like Headspace or Mojo can offer helpful places, to begin with, a mental health support program or men’s health issues while allowing users to maintain a sense of privacy. Men may be hesitant to seek in-person counseling in the communities where they live and may be recognized, but apps or online support groups can go a long way in easing the stigma.
Men may also find support in wellness groups or fitness programs that go beyond simple workout regimens. The rise of holistic health programs that include fitness, nutrition, meditation, and/or mindfulness while building a sense of community or friendship may provide another answer to men’s feelings of isolation.
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