Thu | Dec 7, 2023

Tips for men to prioritise health and wellness

Published:Wednesday | November 15, 2023 | 12:08 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

It is no secret that obesity is widespread. Nearly three out of every four men are either overweight or obese, and 50 per cent of men do not engage in vigorous leisure-time physical activity for more than 10 minutes, according to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

If the statistics have not convinced you to start making healthier lifestyle choices, consider adopting better habits for the sake of your children. A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour highlighted the significant influence fathers have on their children’s food choices, particularly how often they eat fast food and restaurant meals. These choices, in turn, can impact the children’s risk of developing weight-related issues.

According to veteran urologist and lecturer of Urology at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Professor William Aiken, men traditionally do not engage in preventative healthcare. Unfortunately, he said men wait until they have signs of a disease or they are in an advanced state where the illness can no longer be cured.

“Culturally they boast that they have never been to a doctor’s office and they wear it as a badge of honour. There is the idea that not seeking preventative healthcare is seen as ‘macho’. It is a big problem, and there needs to be a drive to change this behaviour,” Professor Aiken said.

So, are you ready to cut down on couch time? Let these simple tips motivate you to fuel your body with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Also, make sure to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Vary your exercise routine

Alternate your exercise activities to stay motivated to work out. Variety is beneficial for both the mind and body. Your body can become accustomed to the same routine if it is repeated too often. To keep your body guessing, combine different types of fitness workouts. Mix a cardio session like running with strength training, yoga or martial arts. Alternatively, vary your tempo within any a single activity through interval training.

Find a fitness buddy

Do you need extra motivation to stick with your fitness and diet plan? Do not do it alone, enlist the help of a buddy. Exercising with a friend not only keeps both of you focused on fitness but also introduces an element of competition, especially if your workout buddy is a bit more advanced. This challenge can push you to work harder, helping you stay committed and reach your fitness goals.

Read nutritional labels

Reading package labels is a must to prevent sabotaging a healthy diet with oversized portions and unhealthy ingredients in processed foods. Many times, there are three to four servings per package, not just one. Avoid foods with trans fats and limit sugars; less than seven grams per serving is a good idea. Look for high-fibre foods, which should contain more than three grams of fibre per serving. Keep in mind that incorporating fresher foods into your diet, as opposed to relying on processed lunch meats or pre-packaged meals, makes it easier to ensure you are obtaining essential daily nutrients.

Keep cooking simple

When maintaining a healthy diet and cooking at home, ensure your preparation methods are also healthy. Opt for baking, grilling, steaming, or sautéing instead of breading and deep-frying. Use healthy fats like olive or canola oil instead of butter, and season with fresh or dried herbs instead of salt. When dining out, choose dishes prepared using these healthful methods.

Develop strength-training exercises

Strength training is a key part of any fitness plan, providing variety and helping build calorie-burning muscle. You don’t need to lift weights or spend hours at the gym;you can tone your muscles at home or at the office with just a few minutes at a time. Push-ups are great for targeting the chest, triceps, and shoulders and they can be done anywhere. Squats and lunges are also effective because they work multiple muscles and are easy to add to any fitness routine.