When you’re inactive and out of shape, making the transformation to a healthy lifestyle can seem like too big a hill to climb. Yet it needn’t be. The key to success is to introduce small but meaningful changes that you can adopt as a foundation for healthy habits. Once those are in place, you are then able to level up. In this men’s health article, we’ll share five easy wins to get in shape that you can implement today.
Men’s Health Month
June is Men’s Health Month. The focus is on raising awareness among men—a group that has traditionally been rather complacent about taking proactive health measures—of the importance of looking after their body. That includes exercising, eating right, and preventing disease. A key area of focus is to encourage monitoring and early detection of diseases including cancer, depression, and heart disease. The official symbol of Men’s Health Month is a blue ribbon.
Yearly Check Up
Visiting the doctor isn’t something you should only do when you are sick. Getting a yearly physical check-up is the most fundamental health measure that you can take. Here are five reasons why you need to adopt this habit:
- You will get an assessment of the key health markers of blood pressure, triglycerides, fasting insulin level, heart rate, body fat percentage, urine microalbumin level, and c-reactive protein.
- You will get an EKG to check the status of your heart health.
- You will get screening tests for HPV, colon, and prostate cancer.
- You will develop a relationship with your doctor which will allow him to more effectively treat you if a problem does arise.
Eat Natural Foods
Natural foods are those that have been provided by nature. The opposite of natural foods are processed foods, which have been stripped of at least one of the following natural elements:
Foods that are partly or wholly man-made are infused with sugar, salt, and artificial additives, many of which are toxic to the human body. In contrast, foods that are eaten as close to their natural state as possible are abundant in health-giving nutrients that we need for optimum health.
The natural foods that should form the basis of your diet include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and legumes. Make it your aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Try, too, to fill your plate with a variety of colors. Each of those colors represents a different phytochemical and nutrient profile that nourishes and enriches your body. Make it your aim to include two to three colours on your plate.
Vitamins and minerals are a class of nutrients called micronutrients. That’s because we only need them in small, or micro, amounts. If we don’t get them in the quantities that our body needs, then our health will be impaired. As a result of the intensive agricultural and processing methods employed over the last hundred years, many of the vitamins and minerals in natural foods have been lost. In fact, to get the same level of vitamins and minerals contained in one apple from the year 1921, you would have to eat five apples today!
To ensure that you are getting a healthy supply of vitamins and minerals, you should take a daily vitamins supplement. Here are the most important vitamins and minerals for men along with the recommended dosage. Look for a supplement that contains the following:
- Vitamin D—600 IU (15 mcg)
- Iron—8 mg
- Iodine—150 mcg
- Magnesium—400 mg
- Vitamin B12—2.4 mcg
- Zinc—11 mg
- Vitamin C—90 mg
Taking a greens supplement can also help you to meet your daily vitamin/mineral supplement requirements.
If you are a smoker, you know that your habit is bad for your health. Maybe you’ve tried to quit before without lasting success. Make it your resolve this Men’s Health Month to quit for good. Here are some practical tips to make it work this time, based on the START acronym:
- Set a Quit Date—make it within the next two weeks. This will give you time to prepare without losing your motivation.
- Tell Others—the more family, friends, and coworkers you tell that you are quitting, the more support you will receive. If you can find a quit buddy to go through the process with you, all the better.
- Remove Temptation—get rid of all cigarettes, tobacco products, matches, lighters, and ashtrays from your home, car, and workspace. You should also have all of your clothes washed, your carpets shampooed, and your curtains and drapes cleaned to remove the smoking odor.
- Talk to Your Doctor—reach out to your doctor for support and advice on quitting. He may prescribe medication to help you cope with the withdrawal symptoms.
Get in Shape
Going from inactive to a regular workout routine can seem daunting. The key to success is to ease into exercise gradually. Start with an early morning workout for twenty to thirty minutes if your schedule allows. If not, get your daily walk in the early evening after your dinner meal. Once you have established the walking habit, add in some form of strength training. You may wish to join a gym or you could perform a bodyweight resistance workout at home.
An effective strength training exercise routine can be done with such calisthenics exercises as push-ups, crunches, pull-ups, burpees, and bodyweight squats. Combine a series of exercises into a circuit where you perform each one for thirty seconds then move directly to the next without any rest. Go through the entire circuit and then rest for two minutes. Build up to performing three to four rounds of the circuit.
Men’s Health Month is all about awareness and taking proactive steps to improve our health. Use the momentum of the month to spur you on to take the five actions we have discussed. Doing so will provide you with a foundation of healthy habits that you can build from going forward.