By and large, the milestone of 25 consecutive years is commonly known as the “silver” anniversary. And while that designation is mostly celebrated by long-married couples, this year brings them some welcome company in the form of the 25th anniversary of Men’s Health Week.
Originally signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994, National Men’s Health Week takes place each year in the run-up to Father’s Day, providing a fundamental backdrop for bringing attention on men’s health to the forefront. In light of some pretty striking statistics, that attention appears long overdue.
According to a recent article on menshealthforum.com, “one man in five dies before the age of 65.” Add ten more years to that number and the ratio jumps to “two-out-of-five.” More distressingly, the post reported as many as three-out-of-four suicides are by men.
Yet, there is a silver lining.
All across the country, an incredible variety of people, organizations, and companies like Benzer Pharmacy join together each year to raise awareness about what men can do to live stronger, healthier lives. Of course, with a little help from their friends and family members, it’s a lot easier and more effective.
Here are a few tips to keep yourself or your loved ones on the straight and narrow:
- Keeping your waist from going to waste. Here’s a number for you: 37. Pretty non-descript if that’s your age, but if it’s your waist size, that number has got a lot to say about your chances for an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. To put the odds—and fewer pounds in your favor—steer clear of fatty, sugary foods. Instead, lean on lean meats, go for wholegrain varieties, and skip return trips to the buffet.
- Stepping up your physical activity game. NHS guidelines push men of all ages to get 150 minutes of exercise a week. That might sound like a lot. But like they say in life and in sports, you only get out what you put in. Actually, it turns out that’s not a bad trade-off at all. In fact, people who do put in the time and the activity lower their risk of heart disease by 35% and their risk of diabetes by 50%.
- Take time to “veg out” five times a day. Nope, that doesn’t kicking back for more binge-watching or endurance gaming. Rather, it means eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Other top tips for heart-healthy table servings include low-fat milk or yogurt, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, tuna, seafood, and sandwich wraps (and, for the love all-things-sacred, hold the mayonnaise to a minimum!).
- Curb your enthusiasm for the hard stuff. Alcohol, in general, plays the good, the bad, and sometimes, the ugly in the diet of men. Despite the allusion to spaghetti westerns, the truth isn’t shrouded in mystery. In simple terms, moderate alcohol consumption has some benefits in reducing heart disease, but anything beyond that pretty much damages every organ in the body. Famed Notre Dame Football Coach Knute Rockne may have put it best, saying “Drink the first. Sip the second slowly. Skip the third.”
While most men as a collective group have never been much for taking stock of their health, National Men’s Health Week, as part of this Men’s Health Month in June, really does provide a pivot point for those who are ready to make the commitment to exercise, diet, and following through with that long overdue visit to their primary care physician.
Living a little longer, a little stronger—together—now that’s a silver lining we’re proud to get behind.