Sixty percent of men don’t go to the doctors, according to a survey done by Cleveland Clinic in 2016. The survey found 53 percent of men don’t see health as something to openly discuss, and just over 40 percent will only see a doctor when faced with a serious medical condition.
Data shows that women, on the other hand, go to the doctors more frequently. “Women, much more than men, are attentive to their bodies and their needs and often carry on deeper dialogs more easily with their doctors,” according to an article by Bertrand Desjardins, a researcher in the demography department of the University of Montreal.
The result is that a woman’s life expectancy is higher worldwide - with women in the United States expected to live almost 7 years longer than men.
As a man, it’s important to take steps to manage your long-term health in order to not only live longer, but maintain or improve your health as you age. Here are some tips on healthy aging for men.
1. Schedule annual check-ups and prioritize health screenings
Cleveland Clinic’s survey found that 19 percent of men admitted they only go to the doctor when their significant other or other loved one pushes for them to go. Your health shouldn’t be something you have to be nagged about. Seven out of every 10 American deaths are a result of chronic diseases that can be prevented through early screening tests, and healthcare for these diseases make up 75 percent of health related cost in the United States.
Annual check-ups and health screenings can be a crucial factor in early diagnosis and treatment for disease. This makes it important to make time to go to the doctor at least once a year, even if you feel perfectly healthy.
Being proactive about your health and having regular discussions with your doctor is essential to long-term healthy aging.
- Practice Self-Care
Self-care is essential in how we look and feel as we age. Self-care covers the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of our health.
The emotional and spiritual aspect of self-care include managing and setting realistic expectations for yourself. Unrealistic expectations based on comparison to others around you or societal expectations can contribute to depression or a feeling that you’re not worthy of success and happiness. Taking a step back to understand, accept, and be kind to yourself can have a positive effect in reducing stress and anxiety, helping you lead a more balanced and personally fulfilling lifestyle.
While the physical aspect includes diet and exercise, it also includes upkeep of your appearance through skincare, dental care, and general hygiene. Keeping up with your appearance does wonders for your self-confidence, which then improves your happiness and performance in other aspects of life. This not only enables a healthy aging process, but secures your general happiness and contentment in life.
Get into the practice of using a dedicated facial cleanser and moisturizer every day. Another part of many men’s skincare routines is managing your facial hair. If done improperly, shaving or trimming can lead to unfortunate and unwanted breakouts. The best shaving practice is to make sure you’re properly navigating the grains of your facial hair, storing your razor away from being exposed to water and bacteria, using proper shaving products versus hand or body soap, and replacing your razor every 6-8 weeks.
Shop around for toothpastes to help with your specific dental concerns - like teeth whitening, rebuilding enamel, or protecting sensitive teeth. Also, put the extra effort into your personal hygiene and take care of your eyebrow grooming, nose and ear hair, and keep your fingernails neat and trim. While these have a minimal effect on your overall health, they have a massive effect on your self-esteem.
3. Exercise Your Body
Having a regular, varied exercise routine carries immense health benefits as you age. Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight, boosts your heart and brain health, helps strengthen your bones and muscles, and even helps to manage and cope with stress. If you don’t have a current workout routine, you should definitely consider getting started.
Having someone to work on your fitness journey with can keep you accountable for your progress, along with other benefits. Ask a friend or your significant other to exercise with you. If you don’t have anyone interested in working out with you - make a friend at the gym! Not only will it keep you motivated, but it can add a layer of fun and good-natured competitiveness that will help you get even more out of your exercises. Holding each other both accountable to your fitness goals will maintain your motivation to work hard and keep up with your workout routine.
4. Exercise Your Mind
Just like your body needs physical exercise to stay in shape, your mind requires mental exercise to stay sharp and focused. Seek out activities that interest you and keep your mind stimulated. Try finding a book or discussion club about something you’re passionate about, or taking courses on a topic that you’ve always wanted to know more about. Word puzzles, number puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles are also great ways to work your brain.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Exercise is a fundamental component of long-term fitness, but the benefits can only go so far if you’re not eating right as well. A balanced diet is proven to combat premature aging, fight off disease, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Trying to stick to your diet can be difficult. The temptation to ‘treat yourself’ in the moment can seem irresistible. The trick to this is to go ahead and treat yourself to something healthy you’ve never tried before. Try to check out healthy foods and brands that are outside of your normal comfort zone. Adding new and unusual tastes can maintain your interest and commitment to eating right. Plus, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by getting a wider variety of nutrients.