It’s almost Father’s Day! That means that tie and hardware stores are probably being sold out as we speak. Here at Flow Natural Health Care, we are passionate about helping men of all statuses (married, single, with kids, without children, queer, straight, etc.) get and stay healthy. So, we wanted to take a moment this month to talk a little about men’s health and provide some holistic solutions for common issues.
What are the Top Ten Most Common Men’s Health Problems?
While men and women both experience many of the same health concerns, different health problems are at the top of the priority list for each sex. Here are the top ten health problems that most commonly affect men:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory illness like pneumonia or COPD
- Depression and suicide
- Cancer (Skin, lung, and prostate cancers being among the most common)
- Unintentional injury or accident
There are not holistic solutions for all of the above ailments. However, adding healthy routines to your day can assist in disease prevention and alleviate symptoms of many chronic illnesses.
Is Stress a Major Concern in Men’s Health?
In our modern, hustle-bustle lifestyle, stress is a huge factor that can lower the immune system, increasing instances of depression, and escalate cases of high blood pressure or heart disease. While both men and women experience stress, research shows that it can be harder for men to cope with stressful situations like job loss, marital strife, or death of a loved one. In fact, sudden stress is more likely to cause death in men than women. Scientists theorize that this extreme reaction to stress may be due to our society’s vision of a man as a “rock” – emotionally stable and stress-free no matter the pressure.
Because stress can cause so many health concerns in men, we wanted to provide several ways that men, specifically, can work to lower their stress levels on a daily basis:
- Spend time with your pet, volunteer at a shelter, or offer to pet sit. Studies show that hanging out with pets (not necessarily your own) can reduce stress levels increase happiness.
- Remember to take a deep breath. Deep breathing sends a signal to your body to relax, so try taking a deep breath or two before an important phone call, during your workday, and as you travel home.
- Exercise. Any exercise can provide stress relief, so try walking, running, biking, boxing, yoga, CrossFit, or any other workout method that you enjoy.
- Pick up a fun hobby. Focusing on one thing continually can ramp up the stress levels. Try changing mental gears by picking up crosswords or sudoku, building a planter for your yard, reading a great book, or cooking something delicious.
- Head out for a hike – bonus points if you go somewhere with trees. It’s probably not too hard to find trees in the Pacific NW and walking in wooded areas can help decrease stress levels even more than a relaxing hike in nature. Trees have an essential oil called phytoncide that assists in stress relief.
- Find ways to let the little things go. There are so many things in life that irk us – from that person walking right in front of you at a snail’s pace to that guy who just stole your spot in the parking lot. Take a moment to breathe deeply, acknowledge the annoyance, text your best bud or write a Tweet about it, and then let it go.
- Practice gratitude. This may sound cheesy, but being grateful relieves stress. So, take some time to think about the things you appreciate. You may be thankful for your good health, for that great meal you had with your family, or for the smell of fresh sheets. Whatever it is, take a moment to appreciate the things that make your day better.
- Connect with those you love. Physically meeting up with our friends, family, or significant others can help reduce stress levels. So, take some time to meet up with your best friend, hug your child, hold your partner’s hand, or take your mom some flowers. Spending time with people you enjoy can boost your confidence, take your mind off your worries, and bring you joy.
There are so many ways to destress that don’t take much time, don’t cost money, and do help you connect with others and feel better about yourself. So, if you are looking to improve your health, try reducing or managing your stress.
Here are Five Holistic Solutions Every Man Can Try
While stress relief can provide enormous health benefits, there are more holistic methods for creating a healthier life. Here are five simple changes every man can make to his life to benefit his overall health:
1. Cut back on red meat and animal fat. This can be a tough one for many men, both because American values red meat as a “manly food” and because most of us have been raised to see animal meat as the only protein available. Fortunately, vegetables contain a ton of health-building, lean protein that is much better for you than most meat. Here are just a few high protein veggies and grains that you should try: lentils, chickpeas, edamame, black beans, nuts & seeds, quinoa, oats, and spinach.
2. Replace those energy drinks with water or tea. Energy drinks are filled with sugar and extremely high levels of artificially manufactured caffeine. In short, these drinks are bad for you. If you have started drinking energy drinks to get you through the day, try chugging eight, 8oz glasses of water throughout your day. You may be surprised at how much merely getting your daily dose of water will increase your energy levels.
If you’re still feeling a little slow, grab a cup of green, black, or white tea. These teas have the caffeine kick you’re looking for, but they are also packed with antioxidants.
3. Cut back on drinking and smoking. Drinking alcohol (even red wine) weakens your immune system – as does smoking. Try cutting back or even quitting drinking or smoking for a month and see how you feel. If you struggle with the quitting process, let us know. We are here to help.
4. Set up a sleep routine and get to bed a little earlier. Sleep is such an essential part of overall health, yet so many men don’t get enough. If you have a hard time getting to sleep or changing your sleep schedule, it may be that having a routine in place would help. Try setting a consistent bedtime, and then begin winding down at least an hour in advance. Spend this time doing things that relax you like meditation, dimming the lights, turning off electronics, or taking a bath. Then head to bed.
5. Practice self-care. Men are more likely to miss doctor’s appointments and forget to take their daily vitamins than women. Simple actions that lead to better self-care are important in the long run. So, don’t leave it to your partner to make sure you take care of yourself – take the initiative and show that you can fend for yourself.
Remember, the above five solutions are general health boosters. If you have a specific concern, don’t hesitate to make an appointment here at Flow Natural Health Care. We are available to provide you with naturopathic primary care.