By Marcus Williams
There are certain habits that every man needs to do to stay healthy and energetic.
1. Watch Your Diet
Eating right most of the time is an essential part of taking care of yourself – no matter how much you work out, you can’t maintain a healthy weight unless you stick to a healthy diet. So be sure to satisfy your appetite with good-for-you foods, and make an effort to keep an eye on calories.
Men are often surprised that even though they are exercising four days a week, they still need to eat well.
- You at three meals a day
- Portion control is the key
2. Stress Less
Stress. It can wreak havoc on your sex drive, increase your blood pressure and overwork your heart. That’s dangerous. In a 2011 study, middle-aged and older men who reported years of moderate to high levels of stress were more than 40% more likely to die than men with low stress. Unfortunately, as every man knows, there’s a lot to stress over. Long hours and work-related travel can translate into tension at home. In addition, it can lead to unhealthy behaviors, like eating too much or drinking more than usual. Over time, you increase your risk of weight gain, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
The best solution: exercise.
To get or stay fit, you have to get and stay active. According to the latest federal guidelines, that means a cardio workout of at least 30 sweat-inducing minutes five days a week plus two days of dumbbell workouts or other weight-training activity to build and maintain muscles. Crunched for time? Kick up the intensity to vigorous exercise, such as jogging, riding a bike fast, or playing singles tennis, and you can get your cardio workout in just 25 minutes three days a week.
Exercise protects against so many conditions — from heart disease to colon cancer to depression — that the best choice is to start exercising now, no matter how healthy you think you are. But if you’re older than 45, discuss your exercise plans with your doctor before you start. Together, you can tailor a workout your body can handle and benefit from.
4. Do NOT ignore your mental health
At least 6 million men in the United States suffer from depression each year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Today’s news continue to be populated with reports of black male celebrities committing suicide. However, many guys don’t like to talk about their feelings or ask for help.
Identifying problems, such as a lack of sleep or loss of interest in spending time with friends, is a crucial part of any man’s health checkup. Depression is more than simply feeling sad, unmotivated, and without energy. Depression is a real illness, and it can be life-threatening. That’s especially true for men because it increases the risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Depression is also the leading cause of suicide — and men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives.
It’s hard to overestimate sleep’s importance. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are all linked to not enough sleep. So are excess weight and mood disorders. A recent study showed that young men who skimp on shut-eye have lower levels of testosterone than men who are well-rested. Meanwhile, older men risk high blood pressure if they don’t get enough deep sleep.
Sleep disorders can also have physical causes. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), for example, disrupts breathing and forces you to wake up to draw a deep breath. It affects an estimated 4% to 9% of middle-aged men (twice the rate in women), yet as many as 90% of cases go undiagnosed. OSA raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure as well as car crashes, which are more common among the sleep-deprived.
Here are some good sleep habits to follow:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening
- Don’t eat large meals at night
- Skip the alcohol right before bedtime
- Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only.
If these measures don’t help, see your doctor.
6. Your sexual health affects your overall health
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a concern that goes beyond the bedroom. ED is a risk factor for heart disease. In a 2010 study published in the journal Circulation, men with ED were twice as likely to have a heart attack and nearly twice as likely to die of heart disease as other men. Also, men who have trouble with erections tend to be overweight or obese, and to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Other factors are frequently at play with ED as well:
- Substance abuse
- Sleep deprivation
For a long-term solution, you need to make some lifestyle changes. Sexual health depends on getting and staying fit, physically and mentally.