Step up your game, during national men’s health week and beyond

June brings barbecue season, outdoor recreation by the mile, Father’s Day and men’s health awareness.

Guys, how aware are you? See how you score in these areas and adjust your game plan to take your health to the next level.

Get some sack time

You need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Less sleep is connected with a number of conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Maybe this will grab your attention: Poor sleep is also responsible for machinery-related and motor vehicle accidents. Such as motorcycles and four-wheelers.


Toss the tobacco

It’s never too late to quit. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. It improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease and cancer (the top two causes of death for men), lung disease, and more. This means chews, too. Wouldn’t it be nice to run without panting?


Get a move on

Remember when you used to shoot hoops or bat the ball around? That was fun – and healthy. You need at least two to three hours of moderately intense activity every week. If your activity also strengthens major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms), that’s a bonus. If you’ve been riding the bench—or couch—ease your way back into the game. Spread your activity out during the week, and break it into smaller amounts of time.


Eat healthy

It’s grilling season! Next to those burgers or chicken, throw on some veggies. A variety of fruit and vegetables every day gets you vitamins and minerals that help protect you from disease. Keep a lid on food and drink with a lot of calories, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol (sorry, guys). The labels tell you how many servings of each you’re getting, so no excuses.


Tame stress

You want excitement, and that kind of stress can be good, like rooting for your team. But feeling overwhelmed and out of control is unhealthy. Find support. Stay connected to your friends and family. Avoid drugs and alcohol. Activity helps, too.


Stay on top of your game

Pro athletes have trainers for a reason. Some things that can take you out of the game—even the game of life—even if you don’t have symptoms. That’s why it is important to see your doctor to get that annual checkup, even when you don’t feel sick.

Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) or any others measures. Your health care provider can explain what your numbers mean to your health, and what action you might need to take.

Pay attention to chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. If you have these or symptoms of any kind, don’t wait!


Take the shot

Get vaccinated. Everyone needs immunizations to stay healthy, at every age. You might need a tetanus shot, or shingles vaccine. Your doctor will know. And definitely get your flu shot every fall. Michael Jordan may be able to score 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block with the flu, but most people are not Michael Jordan.

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