Let Men’s Health be Your Focus This Father’s Day
June is not only an amazing summer month; it is also the time we celebrate our fathers! Due to this honoring of dads everywhere, it is also the month that has been selected as the annual national Men’s Health Month with a focus on male health and wellness the week of June 10th through the 16th since 1994. This year is men’s health by numbers with some fascinating and somewhat unnerving statistics about the top risks and dangers to longevity and wellness. Men’s Health Month was created to bring male health education and prevention into public awareness and hopefully get men thinking about their diets, physical build, annual check-ups and personal habits to create a lifestyle around wellness. This may not seem as easy as it sounds when you are balancing career, home, spouse and for those dads out there, the little ones, but your health is the only guarantee you have in this game of life. Without it, you lose every time. So, let’s take a look at the ways you can squeeze in the workout, get quality nutrition on your plate, lower your stress and take preventative steps for your health.
1. 37, 150, 65
If your waist size is 37 inches or more, you are automatically at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. To combat this number, it is recommended that men get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise each week. That is only two and a half hours each week or five 30-minute sessions, meaning you get your weekends free! If you don’t squeeze in the workouts, you run the risk of being one in five men who die before the age of 65. Trust us when we say your wife and children do not want that to happen.
So this year, in honor of men’s health and Father’s Day, let’s take a look at how to get the movement you need without sacrificing too much of your full schedule. Let’s face it, exercise takes time, but it gives back a lot more in return. That makes it a good investment. If you get your sweat on, you will sleep better, and as a new dad, every minute counts! Getting your endorphins up counteracts stress and irritation giving you more patience and reducing stress related illnesses like headaches, high blood pressure and dietary distress.
If you feel you simply don’t have the time or energy, check out a few fitness life hacks that can get you burning calories in under 30 minutes. Less can be more when you take on P90X, HIIT, Tabata, or TRX! If you can’t make it to the gym, grab an online video and crank up the music while you challenge your kids to keep up with you. This tones your body and teaches them that taking care of their health can be fun. If your children are still infants, but over 8 months old, buy a running stroller with all-terrain wheels and get them outdoors with you. Taking them on a run, jog, hike or even a power walk will be quality time as a parent and as a steward of your body.
For all the wives and kids reading this, buy you and your dad lessons at something you would both enjoy like martial arts, boxing, boot camp or train for a half-marathon together. Showing him you care about his health and want to spend time with him will help build your bodies and your relationship!
2. 5, 14, 10
What goes in the body is just as important as what the body does. Energy in, energy out is the true secret to weight management whether you need a caloric deficit or surplus to reach your goals. To get those calories with a wide variety of nutrients, we are supposed to eat a minimum of five fruits and vegetables each day, and that doesn’t mean servings. We need variety! A good rule of thumb is eating the rainbow each and every day, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red, and try to throw in a new fruit or vegetable each day to rotate your produce. You can find great local variety at farmer’s markets on the weekends or keep a large selection of frozen choices ready to eat.
If shopping and cooking are not the priority for anyone’s schedule then be sure to keep quick punches of nutrition in your cabinets like plant-based protein supplements, superfood powders and bone broth proteins. There is no need for our health to suffer when our schedules don’t allow for marathon cooking.
Once you have healthy foods and a regular exercise schedule, it’s time to take a look at vices and extra-curriculars. A cocktail or beer here and there is no problem, but don’t consume more than 14 units of alcohol each week. This will help your system manage its natural detox functions and protect your liver from cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis and liver cancer. If longevity is your goal, it’s time to cut the cigarettes as well, since smokers die an average of 10 years younger than non-smokers. A decade can feel like a lifetime!
3. 120, 80, 75
Our last set of numbers have a lot to do with stress and wellness practices. When you are stressed and not taking care of your nervous system, it is often your blood pressure that will warn you to take it easy. A healthy reading is 120/80. If you are 140/90 or higher you’ve entered into hypertension. It’s time to slow things down and focus on you. Schedule in some down time, proper sleep of 8 hours a night or more and treat yourself to some body work like acupuncture, massage or a steam and sauna. If you can’t squeeze it in, then begin basic deep breathing techniques while watching the news or sitting at your desk.
Recognizing your stress levels and quality of life are vital in avoiding our final statistic. 75% of suicides and premature deaths from heart disease are men. Fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, we want you with us as long as possible. Please, schedule your annual check-up, squeeze in a run or trip to the gym a few times a week, try to eat one or two healthy meals a day and give your busy schedule a rest with some much deserved you time.