Canadian National Men’s Health month is upon us! Every June, heightened focus is placed on men’s health, men’s wellness, and men’s healthy diets across Canada. Throughout Men’s Health Month, men of all ages are encouraged to show their minds and bodies a little extra love by setting health goals, focusing on disease prevention, and incorporating healthy habits like having a men’s healthy diet that can be sustained beyond national men’s month.
Male health problems present themselves in various forms. When thinking about men’s health we often direct our attention to men’s health and fitness and tend to focus on the physical components of men’s wellness. While physical men’s wellness is important, this year national men’s health month is intentional in shining a light on the significance of mental health and encouraging actions around men’s health and men’s wellness that consider the mind, body, and soul.
Significance of National Men’s Health Month
Now that we know that men’s health month is encouraging us to look at men’s health from head-to-toe and inside-out, we can begin to understand how 72% of Canadian men have unhealthy habits—many of which can result in leading male health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, respiratory issues, and cancer. More than half of Canadian men have difficulty managing these male health problems due to an unhealthy diet, not sleeping enough, and not incorporating frequent exercise into daily routines. Men’s health risks are especially important to manage for Canadian men 55+. The good news is it’s never too late to get healthy, and national men’s health month is a great time to either get started or to kick it up a notch!
Tips for Retirees on How to Prevent Disease
Prevention is the name of the game! In the best of cases men’s health and men’s wellness are front of mind and approached proactively. Men’s health month is a great way to remind men 55 and up that retirement is best enjoyed with a healthy mind and body. There are a lot of great tools out there to get you started, including YOUCHECK for Men, a free and completely confidential assessment that men can complete in minutes. Let’s celebrate national men’s health month by exploring the various components of men’s health and sharing some simple tips to tackle male health problems.
A Healthy Mind
Depression, loneliness, high stress, and increased alcohol consumption notably increased throughout the pandemic. The restrictions experienced due to COVID-19 made it challenging to surround ourselves with the people we love and resulted in a lot of alone time for many Canadians 55+. It’s harder to focus on men’s health and wellness when you’re not feeling particularly motivated. Baby steps can really get the wheels in motion when you’re looking for a mental health break.
- Let the sunshine in. Whenever possible, open up your curtains and soak in the sun even if indoors. Opening windows throughout the home can let a breeze flow through your space and give you some fresh air right in your living room.
- Walk the walk. A little physical activity goes a really long way where men’s wellness is concerned. A 30-minute walk can increase your serotonin and dopamine levels (the-feel-good hormones) and leave you feeling happier and more energized. Light exercises like yoga and Pilates can also give you a feel-good boost right at home.
- Talk the talk. This might not come as easily to some, but men’s health includes recognizing when you need to let off some emotional steam. Whether it’s a close friend, a partner, or a mental health professional, a good talk can really promote men’s health and wellness. If you’re feeling a little uncertain about how to start a conversation about mental health, this video conversation hosted by Kevin Bieska, former NHL defenseman and current Hockey Night In Canada studio analyst, offers some great tips.
A Healthy Body
Men’s health month is a great time to talk about common male health problems, disease prevention and general men’s health and wellness practices that are sure to keep Canadian men 55 and up in good physical health. A great way to focus on men’s health and fitness is to stay informed on the different types of screening that can help you achieve optimal men’s health.
- Attention = prevention. No one knows your body as well as you do. Some male health problems are harder to detect than others, so when something feels off to you, listen to your body. Self-detection is so important: whether your instincts tell you that something feels strange or you’re seeing/feeling a change in your body, remember that you are the master of your domain. Analyse your symptoms and consider if you’ve experienced them before. If they’re unfamiliar, persistent, or worrisome in any way, a trip to a doctor is important. Though national men’s health month is in June, prevention can happen every day.
- Get screened. An important thing to keep in mind where men’s health is concerned, is that you don’t need to be feeling unhealthy to get screened. Screenings are very effective in giving your body the proactive attention it deserves. Yearly blood work can act as a window into your body, giving you information on your cholesterol, sugar levels and even your organ and gland health. Sometimes a small red flag can signal a change in a men’s healthy diet or encourage you to explore men’s health diet plan options. While screenings for things like colorectal and prostate health are a little more involved, they’re just as important when trying to secure optimal health for years to come.
A Healthy Future
Now that we’ve gone through men’s health and wellness for the mind and body, let’s talk about how you can keep some good habits in place well beyond men’s health month.
- Go for the goal. Sometimes the pathway to achieving something is to set a goal for yourself, and work towards it. Men’s health goals are no exception. Whether you’re a long term or a short sprint goal setter, you can let national men’s health awareness month kick off the men’s health and fitness habits that you know you can achieve. The best part about goal setting is that you can start small. For example, the simple goal of calling your doctor to schedule a screening can be the push you need to kick off your male health problem prevention plan. You can also incorporate small changes like increasing your water consumption, and while working towards a men’s healthy diet setting the goal of spending more time on the perimeter of the grocery store (where the fresh produce is usually found) than inside the aisles (where processed and canned foods are usually found).
- Consistency is key. As the old saying goes, don’t make promises you can’t keep! When you’re making changes that would address male health problems, do your best to set goals that you know are achievable. For example, if you’re looking to have a men’s healthy diet, it doesn’t mean you have to cut out all the foods you enjoy. You might find more success in moderation. Another way to stay consistent is to allow your doctors’ offices to reach out to you when you’re up for a screening or an annual appointment. If you don’t think this is something you’ll get to yourself, let them help you achieve the men’s health goals you’ve set out for yourself by taking this task off your plate.
- Inside out. Remember that men’s health month is encouraging us to pay attention to men’s mental health in addition to physical health. When focusing on men’s health and wellness, it’s hard to be there for your body when your mental health needs a break. Avoiding stress isn’t always easy, so it’s important to know where the stressors are coming from, and if they can’t be avoided, try to find healthy ways to release some of the pressure. Exercise is good for the body and mind. Stepping outdoors at least once a day can replenish you when you feel your tank is running on empty. Having a men’s healthy diet feeds you in more ways than one. Finding your balance on the inside, helps you live an optimal life on the outside.
This National Men’s Health Month comes in the midst of a long year of challenge and change for many retirees and Canadians over 55. While we look towards a safe and healthy future, it’s most encouraging to see that mental health and physical health are both being discussed in men’s health conversations. As the world around us starts to show signs of improvement, men’s health awareness month serves as a reminder that men’s health and wellness contributes to the health and wellness of our broader communities. Whatever your men’s health goal may be, the sooner you work towards it the happier your mind and body will be. Call your doctor, go for a walk, have long and important talks, check in on the people you love and let them check in on you. There’s no better day than today to start living a healthy life.