Men, it’s time to take charge of your health
Men are more prone to health issues that can significantly reduce their quality of life — but a few lifestyle adjustments and a little bit of awareness can make a big difference.
June is Men’s Health Month, but here’s a thought for men and those who love them: any day is a great time to take charge of your health. Whether you need a minor or major tune-up, just a few lifestyle adjustments and a little bit of awareness can really make a big difference.
Even if you feel just fine now, taking steps to improve your health will allow you to fully enjoy life for years to come and give yourself time to make more great memories with loved ones and friends.
Here are the hard facts: statistics show that men are more prone to health issues that can significantly reduce their quality of life, including heart disease, cancers, injuries, stroke and diabetes. They also die an average of 5 years younger than women.
The good news is many medical conditions that shorten a lifespan can be prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle, which can include changing what or how much you eat, meeting exercise goals, and prioritizing regular doctor visits.
“Just remember to think of changes more in terms of a marathon versus a sprint,” says Justin Jones, a health and wellness consultant at Regence. “One or two adjustments over time can have a major impact on your well-being.”
Consider starting with healthier choices at mealtime, focusing on what to add to your diet, not take away. This could include whole, unprocessed foods and low-fat proteins like chicken, fish and nuts.
“We all know that we need to eat better, but men tend typically err on the side of snacks, fried foods, processed food and red meat – sometimes a lot of it,” says Jones.
Thinking of food as fuel for energy and a powerful weapon against disease can motivate men to eat better. Remember that making healthy choices doesn’t have to mean eating boring meals. Try incorporating different types of food, adding flavor through seasonings and herbs, and vary your meal choices throughout the week.
Exercise is also important, with the CDC recommending 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly. If you are struggling to regularly prioritize exercise, try taking on a challenge, like a running or biking event, or engage friends or colleagues in a friendly competition.
Finally, don’t forget the importance of prioritizing your health care, like annual checkups and health screenings. It’s well-known that men do not get routine checkups nearly as often as women, often citing that they feel fine or harbor anxiety about a potentially scary diagnosis.
So, “don’t be that guy,” the one who waits until he’s sick to see a doctor. Talk to your health care provider about how often to schedule a visit and when to get recommended preventive screenings.
Preventive care, including annual wellness exams, are covered for Regence members. Log in to your account on regence.com to find a doctor and explore your health plan benefits.