Despite women’s increased longevity they continue to be described as the weaker sex. But what really determines which sex is, in fact, the weakest? Perhaps the weaker sex might just be a person who won’t risk a trip to the doctor. And that’s usually men, not women. It is well known that on average, men pay less attention to their health than women, and the results show in the statistics. People are living longer than ever, but women still tend to outlive men by about five years.
It’s an unfortunate truth that men are reluctant to look after their own health or seek help for their health issues. The results are simple: men tend to die younger and sometimes from preventable problems such as cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and others. The best researchers can’t determine why. But whatever the reason, there’s no good excuse for men not taking their healthcare seriously.
Routine check-ups. Cars get routine check-ups. So do airplanes. but most men neglect the most precious thing they have – their bodies. Regular check-ups can help prevent health issues before they become serious problems. Screening tests may help your doctor detect diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers.
Regular exercise. No one says you have to start living in a gym, but moderate, regular exercise will go a long way to ensure you stay healthy. Guidelines suggest adults aged 18 to 64 years of age should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week – that’s just over 20 minutes a day!
Maintaining a healthy diet. A healthy diet contains lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Protein is important, but try to avoid processed foods, and limit your intake of sugary drinks. Try to eat foods that are low in saturated fats and keep your salt intake low. Canada’s food guide has lots of information and advice on how to have a healthy diet.
Stop smoking. Fewer people than ever smoke these days. So if you’re still smoking, why be a holdout? Once you quit smoking, after just one day your risk of heart attack begins to decrease. There are many resources out there to help you quit, so why not start now?
Stress reduction. Stress is part of life, but it’s important to be able to know when stress is becoming a health burden. Too much stress has some unexpected health effects, such as weight loss or gain, heart disease, even making it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar. Stress can also affect your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. There are many resources available to help you measure and manage your stress levels, such as this one.
Moderate alcohol consumption. Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as not more than two drinks a day. There are a few tips to help you keep your drinking moderate, such as keeping track of what you’re drinking and making sure you stop drinking before you stop thinking. Of course, it’s also important to remember alcohol can interact with some medications you may be taking. Your doctor or pharmacist can advise you on the risks of drinking while taking some prescription drugs, supplements or herbal remedies.
A story from the Wall Street Journal provides a good example of how a man’s attitudes towards personal health and safety can – and should – quickly change.
In the 1960s the boxer Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, had a reputation for being bold and outspoken. Having boarded a flight, a flight attendant noticed that Ali had not fastened his seat belt. Ali was asked twice to fasten his seat belt, but he ignored the attendant. When he was asked a third time, he replied, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” The attendant replied: “Superman don’t need no airplane. Buckle up.” And he did.