Take charge of your health, gents. The sooner you do it, the better.
“It’s not cool for a guy to wait until he’s 50 to see a doctor,” says Steven Lamm, MD, the medical director of NYU Langone Medical Center’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health. “Men need to care about their health above the waistline as well as below.”
Here are his top 10 tips.
Find a doctor. Choose one you’re comfortable with, so you can “openly discuss all aspects of your health, from your mental state to your sexual function to your overall wellness,” Lamm says.
See that doctor. “Just because you are feeling well doesn’t mean you are well. Have a tendency toward denial? Don’t ignore things like black stools, vision loss, or chest pain. Unfortunately, men have a tendency to do just that.”
Get informed. “You do want to be knowledgeable and understand that you shouldn’t ignore symptoms or complaints, but you don’t want to self-diagnose.”
Vary your workouts. “The body gets very comfortable when you always do the same workout. You have got to keep varying your exercises, and they have to be an age-appropriate mix of aerobics, muscle training, and stretching.”
Eat to thrive. Getting enough nutrition is crucial. “It’s more important than anything else except maybe sleep,” Lamm says. “Focus on nutrients rather than calories,” and eat a variety of healthy foods. “You can’t achieve optimum nutrition with limited choices.”
Prioritize sleep. “Get at least 7 hours. That’s not something you should compromise. Men think they can overcome sleep deprivation by exercising or whatever,” but that’s a bad idea, he says.
Check your head. “Mental health is really, really important. Think about several things: Are you drinking too much? Are you paying attention to signs of depression or bipolar disorder, which often get missed? If you have a family history of mental illness, suicide, and/or substance abuse, you really need someone to help you review the signs and symptoms.”
Stay ready for sex. “When you’re stressed out, not sleeping, or drinking too much, you can’t get an erection on demand, and a man’s erection is a barometer for overall health. Exercising, eating well, and sleeping well are the best ways to be sure you’re a stud in the bedroom.”
Care for your prostate. “The prostate grows as you get older. You’ll almost certainly have symptoms, like urinary problems. A really healthy, low-fat diet will reduce the likelihood of prostate growth and may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.”
Enjoy yourself. “Look forward to every day, to doing something for yourself every day, whether it’s a run or listening to an audiobook or practicing meditation or yoga. Don’t save up all of your fun for vacation.”