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June 10, 2024

Men’s Health Guide: Essential Steps for Long-Term Health with Adam Lunsford, FNP-C

by Adam Lunsford, FNP-C

According to the CDC, men are 33% less likely to go to the doctor, and 100% worse at maintaining screenings and preventive care. Men’s health is often overlooked, with many men neglecting regular check-ups and recommended appointments. As a result, they face higher risks of chronic health conditions and shorter lifespans compared to women, due to preventable diseases.

Men, your health is important, and not only should you be getting recommended screenings, but you should also be incorporating healthy habits into your everyday life to reduce the risk of chronic disease. Let’s cover the essential tips for men’s health, focusing on physical activity, healthy eating, stress management, and good sleep, and see how small habits can create the biggest differences in your health.

Physical Activity

Though sometimes challenging with your busy schedule, regular exercise and physical activity is crucial for maintaining optimal health and well-being. If you’re starting to incorporate physical activity into your routine again, be sure start small and gradually increase intensity, so you can prevent injuries, build endurance, and help you adjust to incorporating regular exercise into your schedule.

If incorporating longer workouts into your day seems impossible, there are still ways you can get activity in, as you navigate how to increase your physical activity. Try out things like taking a 10-minute break for a walk during work, parking at the far end of the parking lot, taking the stairs, and going on family walks after dinner (blood sugar balancing!) or practicing sports with your kids.

Men should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Finding enjoyable activities like cycling, running, or weightlifting will make exercise more sustainable in the long term, and increase mental health benefits from exercise as well.

Healthy Eating

Another important component of our long-term health that can be challenging with a busy schedule is eating a balanced diet. A healthy diet can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

To support a healthier diet and avoid the rut of grabbing fast food or takeout on busy days, be sure to eat a breakfast that is filled with protein, have healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, or peanut butter crackers on hand, and spend time prepping some meals on the weekends. Having healthy foods available on hand and ready to eat will help you avoid the urge for takeout and replace it with sustaining, nourishing foods.

Men should prioritize protein-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoiding processed foods, excessive sugar, and alcohol are also important. When you implement some of these habits, you’ll find that your mood and focus improves, your energy levels will improve, and your overall health will improve.

Stress Management

Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. The mindset that men should always be productive, busy, and stressed is harmful to their health. Men should practice stress

management techniques like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, physical activity, and participating in hobbies.

Building strong social connections and seeking support from friends, family, or community groups can also help alleviate stress. Setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and finding healthy outlets for stress will improve overall well-being, but don’t be afraid to get mental health care when you need it. Behavioral Health Therapists can help you identify what’s causing your stress, how to cope with it, and identify other sources of growth and opportunity to improve your mental wellbeing.

Your mental health, originating with your brain, is part of your physical health. So, if you’re striving to improve your physical health, you’ll never be fully there if you don’t consider your mental health, too.

Sleep Hygiene

Quality sleep is essential for optimal health and cognitive function. Men should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and establish a consistent sleep schedule. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, optimizing the sleep environment, and avoiding screens and fatty foods that might upset your stomach before bed can promote better sleep.

Having healthy, consistent, and adequate sleep is going to improve your focus and energy levels, reduce your stress levels, and allow your body to recover well each night, supporting your body’s overall health.

 

Men, prioritizing your health is essential for your quality of life and longevity. You can take proactive steps toward better health and well-being, for yourself and for those who care about you. Remember, small changes will make a big difference in improving your health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Take charge of your health today, and experience a healthier tomorrow.

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