It’s that time of year again, when you notice more facial hair popping up on your men everywhere. This isn’t to keep warm in the colder weather, but to raise money and awareness for Movember! Each November the Movember Foundation asks men to grow mustaches and raise money and awareness for men’s health. It’s not just the perfect play on words but also happens to coincide with International Men’s Day on November 19th.
Whether you’re planning on growing a mustache or just want to improve the health habits of yourself or the men in your life, we have some great tips for you.
Find a Doctor and Get Regular Check-Ups
It’s no secret, men tend to avoid going to the doctor. Experts say it’s because too many men place an emphasis on being a ‘stereotypical man’ – “men don’t need help, we’re strong and never get sick”. But getting regular check-ups with your doctor is vital to preventing and identifying health issues. Checking in with your doctor on a regular basis can have life-changing impacts on treating and beating many common diseases.
Getting a regular checkup is especially important for prostate health. One in nine Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the most common cancer for men in Canada. The good news is, early detection can literally save lives. Men should start getting PSA and digital rectal exams starting at around age 45 to 50.
We all know that exercise is good for us, but physical activity for men is about more than just working towards a six-pack. Staying active has been shown to lower the risk of many health issues including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Sleep Apnea
- Some cancers
Working out can also increase testosterone levels, bone strength and has even been shown to increase life expectancy. It can also be fun and a great way to spend time with friends and family, as long as you’re following social distance guidelines. Some great activities to start with are ones the whole family can get involved with like swimming, walking or yoga. Just make sure you check with your doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions before trying any new physical activities.
Get Some Sleep
Sleep is something we could all use more of, but getting a solid eight hours is especially important for men’s health. Studies have linked lack of sleep to imbalance in testosterone and insulin resistance in men.
Another sleep issue to be aware of is sleep apnea. There are different kinds of sleep apnea but the main issue is it causes your breathing to repeatedly start and then stop while you’re sleeping. Men are much more likely to get sleep apnea than women, which can cause issues such as daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes or liver problems. If your partner tells you that you’re snoring loudly, or you’re not consistently breathing when you’re sleeping, be sure to let your doctor know.
To get a better sleep, make sure you’re not drinking too much caffeine or alcohol – these can have a big impact on your sleep cycle. Be sure to make your sleeping environment the perfect place to get some shut-eye – keep the noise down, turn off that phone and make sure the temperature is just right.
Both men and women need to eat a healthy diet, but there are some food choices men can make to help with their health.
The first thing is to make sure you’re including lots of fruits and veggies in your diet – especially tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit - these have a powerful antioxidant called lycopene found to be beneficial for men’s health. Also, selenium-rich foods such as wheat germ, tuna, herring and other seafood and shellfish are great for prostate health. Make sure you put these at the top of your list for the next trip to the grocery store!
Make Mental Health A Priority
We spend so much time focusing on our physical health that our mental health is often pushed to the side. But it’s important to make mental health a priority too!
Although men tend to have a lower rate of mental illness than women, they’re less likely to reach out for support. In a report by the World Health Organization, they found that stigma surrounding mental health is one of the main reasons people don’t get help – and it’s especially true for men. But men should know mental health issues are common and there’s lots of resources and supports out there that can help.
Men can start by talking to their doctor or someone that they’re close with, like a friend or a family member. The first step is to talk. Talking openly about mental health reduces the stigma, so don’t be afraid to get the support you need.
We hope that some of these tips can help you or the men you know. Taking the right steps can mean a healthier and happier life for men across Canada!