June is Men’s Health Month and National Safety Month. We also celebrate Father’s Day. While these are separate observances they all share a common thread, men. This is a time to increase the awareness of preventable health problems and safe behavior among men and to encourages early detection and treatment of diseases. Men’s Health Month is celebrated all over the USA with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities. It is also marked by a Congressional health education program. During this month, health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals get the opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.
Importance of Men’s Health
It is a fact that men die from accidents at a rate averaging about 40% higher than women. Unfortunately, these higher rates begin in infancy. In Alaska, as Summer gets into full swing so do outdoor activities and with them an increase in accident related deaths. Boating, hunting, hiking and other outdoor activities bring risks and injury. As per The Facts Hurt: A State-by-State Injury Prevention Policy Report, Alaska has the sixth highest rate of injury deaths in the USA. Apart from these, accidental deaths include car accidents, overdoses, falls, fires, poisonings, drowning and other unintentional cases.
However, men can live longer and healthier lives if they change certain key behaviors. These include eliminating alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, getting their immunizations, and reducing stress. These lifestyle changes can help men give the greatest gift to themselves and their loved ones – a robust health.
What You Can Do
1. Use Safety Precautions
With summer activities getting into full swing in June, be proactive and adopt summer safety measures now. Outdoor activities during the summer like hunting, rafting, and climbing can possibly lead to accidents, including drowning and encounters with wildlife. It’s a good idea to take the following precautions:
- Enjoy the outdoors, hike, hunt, etc. with a buddy
- Use Personal Flotation Devices (P.F.D.s) whenever you do water-related activities
- Avoiding consumption of alcohol while participating in summer activities
2. Say No to Drugs and Alcohol
Though drugs give the impression of making you more alert and aware or perhaps more relaxed, in reality they push your brain in the opposite direction. Not only do drugs lower your physical output and reduce mental capacity but they also lead to risky behaviors, injury and often death.
3. Exercise More Often
Engagement in exercises like walking, hiking, bicycling, and bowling can greatly boost your overall health. It keeps you physically fit, mentally agile, and stimulates your mood. Indeed, understanding and eventually feeling the consequences of physical activity can motivate you to exercise on a regular basis. Exercising more often is important because it:
- Leads to more energy and better sleep
- Reduces chronic pain and pain in preexisting injuries
- Strengthens the immune system
4. Eat Healthy
A nutritious, well-balanced diet – along with exercise – is the foundation of good health. Healthy eating includes consuming vitamins, high-quality proteins, heart-healthy fats, carbohydrates, water and minerals. This promotes optimal body weight and help in disease prevention. To have a healthy intake, it is important to remember the following: Cut out processed meats like sausage, hot dogs, bologna, etc. • Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet • Eat whole, unprocessed grains (not white bread and pasta) regularly 2. Get Quality Sleep It is best to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. Poor or inadequate sleep is associated with several diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Men who have poor sleeping patterns are also more prone to suffer from
- Cut out processed meats like sausage, hot dogs, bologna, etc.
- Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Eat whole, unprocessed grains (not white bread and pasta) regularly
5. Get Quality Sleep
It is best to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. Poor or inadequate sleep is associated with several diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Men who have poor sleeping patterns are also more prone to suffer from motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents. Here are some useful tips to help build a proper sleeping routine:
- Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning
- Ensure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, and relaxing when you go to bed
- Avoid the consumption of tobacco, nicotine, and alcohol at bedtime
6. Avoid Stress
Stress can arise from high-pressure workdays, long commutes, raising kids, not getting enough sleep or exercise, and trying to make ends meet. The strain of everyday life can impact your health in irreversible ways — from heart problems to depression to long-term disability. You want to avoid stress as it:
- Is a risk factor for chronic diseases, especially those related to the heart
- Adversely affects your personal life by making you grouchy, irritable or depressed
- Contributes to weight gain, which can lead to other health problems
- Is a factor in premature aging
7. Spread The Word About Men’s Health
It’s important to not only adopt a healthy lifestyle but also spread awareness regarding the same. Men’s health is a topic on which people are especially unaware. Therefore, it is a good idea to build teams and groups to make boys and men, as well as women, aware of various preventable health problems.
- Share information on men’s health and Men’s Health Month
- Request that your local church and other religious organizations discuss Men’s Health Month
- Take your father/brother/uncle/grandfather/significant other to the doctor for a health check-up
- Plan some fitness activities at lunch time or post working hours
- Write an informative article about how men’s health affects the entire family and submit it to your local newspaper
Remember that men’s health is a family issue. If a man’s health is prematurely damaged, it invariably affects the quality of life of his family members as well. Celebrating Men’s Health Month is a first step toward being aware of this important issue.