MEN'S HEALTH: DON'T BE SO STUBBORN!
I am sure we would all agree that there is extensive health and well-being information out there for all to see. Whether you access it directly by searching the internet or come across an interesting article in your favorite magazine it is without doubt readily available to all.
But are we all motivated to do a bit of self help learning in order to feel the healthiest both physically and mentally that we can? Judging by the amount of monthly editorial magazines published it is clearly weighted towards the female members of society with only a small number of magazines dedicated directly at men. So if it is, as it would appear to be, an area that men don’t like to openly address regularly should we, as spouses, partners or friends take on the mantle of looking out for them ourselves.
If we equip ourselves with some basic pointers in their direction they might feel a little more inclined to listen maybe? Our ability to condense a whole article into quick bullet points might be all it takes and let’s face it we are all aware that when it comes to health the sooner you deal with a potential problem the sooner it hopefully resolves and doesn’t manifest itself into one almighty worry.
So where to begin.
As with all of us, irrespective of gender, a good healthy well balanced diet full of fruit, vegetables and lean protein is essential. Sensible sized portions will, in turn, lead to sensible sized waists and a regular step on the bathroom scales to keep an eye on things is recommended. Keeping our alcohol intake under the Government guidelines of less than 14 units per week with no binge drinking is a really sensible approach and one that everyone should try to adhere to. Alcohol is not only linked to various serious illnesses such as cancer but it is also empty calories, in other words it increases weight without any significant health benefit.
All of us feel a little bit self conscious when it comes to talking or indeed showing a relative stranger such as your GP your intimate bits but don’t let that couple of awkward minutes potentially jeopardise your future together. If your partner finds the whole issue of talking about “down there” too hard then offer to go with them to the GP. Alternatively, plan out together what needs to be said during the consultation so avoiding any awkward tongue tied moments.
Any issues regarding impotence, needing to pee more often or any lumps or bumps should be referred for professional opinion. Probably nothing to worry about but you never quite know for sure so get checked. Moles are a subject that is often overlooked. Keep an eye on your partner when they are getting ready. Moles often appear on our backs and it makes it quite difficult to self examine so lend a helping hand. Any changes in size, colour, texture or if they start to bleed at all – see the GP. Most moles are innocuous but don’t just assume – check.
Depression is a very serious condition and can be missed so easily by others around. It affects work, social life and family life and can be treated using combinations of self-help, talking therapies and drugs. Men are far more likely to commit suicide than women so if you suspect that your loved one is maybe struggling then try to get them to engage in some form of help. If they seem unwilling to talk to you about it then contact your GP directly and express your fears. Sometimes people with mental health issues find it too hard to reach out for help themselves and need someone close to hold their hand along the way.
Sleep or lack of it is an issue that niggles lots of us. Our bodies need to sleep in order to repair and balance ourselves and regular lack of sleep can lead to all sort of serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes and shortens life expectancy and that’s not to mention just being plain grumpy! Sleeps benefits mental wellbeing helping to ward off long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety. So how long is enough? Not everyone needs the recognised 8 hours and a fair way to assess your partner is to see if they are needing to nap during the day.
It is thought that there is a link between lack of sleep and obesity or put it another way, getting enough sleep helps you to keep slim as it helps to control the hormones that tell a person when they are full or hungry.
As time moves by, encouraging your partner to maintain some sort of recreational activity is a great idea. Adapting to their physical capabilities might be the time for more age appropriate exercise and an opportunity to learn new sports and in turn make a new group of friends. Taking up a new sport together can be a real bonding experience and doing it together can help with any new nerves when joining a club, for instance.
A plan for both of you.
Age creeps up on all of us, hopefully, and it sometimes takes a little getting use to. Life seems to flow like a good book with new chapters leading on from one stage to another and sometimes it needs a little adjusting to get used to the new way.
Patience is a good tool for us all to learn and an understanding that sometimes new stages such as retirement can leave us feeling a little unsure how to organise our time needs to be considered. Talk through suggestions together and make plans that allow room for both parties’ wishes and wants.
Often when children fly the nest you realise that they were the glue that often held your days together and now is the time to reconnect with the person that you started your journey with. Men aren’t always known for their ability to express their emotions but given a little gentle prodding you might be surprised. Embrace this stage of your new lives and see it as a time to start a new chapter together.
Enjoy every day!