While growing old can seem
burdensome, given its association with more aches and pains and having less
energy in general, it’s helpful to remember that it beats the alternative. If
you are a man and find yourself either entering or well into middle age, this
phase of life can seem like quite the adjustment when reflecting upon your
younger days. While no one can necessarily expect to have the same energy,
vitality, flexibility, strength and vigor at 55 as they did at 25, there are
still ways that you can be the best and healthiest version of yourself that you
can be at any age.
The following five mens health tips cover simple things you can do to help ensure you continue to have a healthy body and healthy mind as you get older. Some of them seem like common sense, yet so many of us still don’t take them into account in our daily lives. Address the following five areas aggressively in your life, and you’ll find that middle age can be the best time of your life.
- Diet Is Critical
Eating right could be considered one of those commonsense prescriptions for people of any age when trying to stay healthy. That being said, this is particularly important as we get older because our susceptibility to many diseases only increases as we age. Our bodies also have trouble absorbing certain nutrients in middle age and beyond, so you may find it helpful to supplement some nutrients such as calcium, iron and certain vitamins.
There is the humorous saying that eating healthy doesn’t actually make you live any longer it just makes it feel longer. Even if this were true, though, there’s more to living than simply getting to as high an age number as you possibly can. Quality of life is critical to your ability to actually enjoy life at any age, and this is enhanced immeasurably through a good diet and regular exercise.
As far as helpful dietary suggestions, it’s not surprising that eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods would be a vast improvement over wiping out the pastry rack at your local 7-11. Unless you happen to be vegetarian or vegan, try to have lean meats, poultry, eggs and fish rather than fatty meats for your protein needs.
- Staying Active as You Get Older
Keeping your weight down is an important part of continuing to feel energetic and improving your chances against contracting most chronic diseases. The already discussed element of your diet is a critical part of this, and the other part is regular exercise.
You should incorporate both aerobic and strength-training exercise into any weekly workout regimen. They work differently in how they keep you healthy, so they are natural complements to each other. Your joints may not be in as good a shape as they were in your younger days. If this is true, then low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking, biking and swimming, are a good idea. Try to do at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Also, if it has been a while since you’ve exercised, check with your doctor before starting anything but the mildest activity.
- Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
Men often find it harder to open up about mental health issues. Traditionally, men have been expected to just push through life’s slings and arrows in a stoic fashion, which is undoubtedly where phrases such as man up come from. That said, mental issues, such as depression, can be just as crippling to your health and enjoyment of life in general as many physical issues.
Beyond feeling stigmatized at the thought of seeking professional help, men frequently will not even confide in friends or family about such issues. You need to realize that depression and other mental problems can diminish your desire to do many of the other things on this list to get and stay healthy, so handling them needs to be a priority. A recent finding by the CDC that suicide by middle-aged men rose 43 percent in recent years is evidence that the seriousness of this issue can reach tragic levels.
- Your Sexual Health as You Age
Sexual health is a prime motivation for many men to stay healthy into and through middle age. Many men tie sexual performance to their feeling of being a man, so problems in this area can radiate out into various negative feelings of inadequacy. Following other items on this list will help keep this from becoming a problem. Poor diet, for one, can increase the chances of having problems related to sexual health.
Men remaining fertile in middle age is particularly important today given that more and more couples are having babies later in life. This makes it even more critical than in previous generations to follow healthy habits as far as eating right, staying active and not smoking or drinking excessively to improve your chances of keeping your sperm count up in middle age.
- Get Regular Health Screenings
Just as with women, it becomes more important for men to get regular medical screenings as they age. Things such as checking cholesterol, blood pressure and screening for colon cancer are recommended for middle-aged men and women.
Men will, however, have some tests that will be specific to them. The most notable of these would be regular prostate screenings. These can uncover problems ranging from an enlarged prostate up to the far more serious issue of prostate cancer. African-American men should know that they have a higher probability of getting prostate cancer at a younger age than white men, so they should be getting regular screenings for it starting in their 40s.
Living a Full and Healthy Life Through Middle Age
There are certainly some items not specifically mentioned on this list that you should, of course, do as well. People of any age should get plenty of sleep. While avoiding bad habits such as smoking and excessive drinking was mentioned under sexual health above, it’s also recommended for your health in general.
Mens health is an important subject since it not only affects us but also our family, friends and any others who care for and depend on us. The above are some basic tips that can help you in staying healthier throughout these years.
You can start incorporating these tips into your routine by doing little things in your day-to-day life to feel better and be more fit. You might try substituting that cup of coffee in the morning with green tea, and make sure you have healthy food choices available at work for lunchtime rather than depending on the fast food place nearby. You can try getting off the bus a couple stops before work or home and walking the rest of the way. Sometimes, small actions can add up, which can lead to a trimmer waist, more energy, enhanced sexual health and brighter prospects for a happier middle age.