June is the month all about the men in our lives! Not only do we celebrate Father’s Day in June, but June is also National Men’s Health Month. It is a time when each man should take time to invest in their health.
Each October there is always a push for breast cancer awareness and it seems as though everyone is wearing their pink in support of breast health. It will be a great day when we get to the point where we celebrate men’s health as much as we do women’s health. There are a few key factors that men need to consider to keep themselves healthy. As with any average healthy person, we need to make sure we’re exercising most if not all days of the week. The Surgeon General would like every American to achieve 150 minutes of activity a week. Those 150 minutes can be broken up in 10 minute bouts if the entire 30 minutes a day comes off as too daunting. Along with exercise is eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Choose lean cuts of meat, eliminate as much processed food as you can, and eat closer to nature. Living in southwest Florida we are already keenly aware of the importance of hydration. Keep drinking water to maintain healthy cells and metabolism. Those are healthy tips anyone can follow whether male or female, and at any age.
For men specifically, what do they have to pay attention to? Heart disease is the number one killer in America. While we can exercise and eat a healthy diet, it is also important to have a few minor tests done to make sure you’re functioning on all of your cylinders. First, have your blood pressure checked. While most will agree that it fluctuates throughout the day, and depending on who is taking it, having a base line of blood pressure is a great start. Your blood pressure should be around 120/80. Do not take your blood pressure right after a stressful event, after exercise, etc. If the first number rises above 140 or the second number rises above 90 it would be a good idea to sit and talk to your physician about why your blood pressure is elevated. Although having your blood pressure alleviated through a healthy lifestyle is ideal, sometimes medication is the best solution.
In addition to controlling your blood pressure, having your blood cholesterol within normal limits is also important. A total cholesterol score below 180 mg/dL is an optimal number to be at. Your total cholesterol score is based on the formula of your HDL level (your “good” cholesterol) + your LDL level (your “bad” cholesterol) + 20% of your triglyceride level. A seemingly healthy person on the outside may have cholesterol that is not within optimal limits.
Do no t let looks fool you! Blood pressure and cholesterol levels cannot be determined by looking at how “fit” or “healthy” a person looks.
Another tool used to help determine someone’s health is their waist to hip ratio. This measurement, which can be done by anyone, is a quick way to determine if your body shape may be putting you at risk for diseases such as heart disease. To take this measurement, first take a measuring tape around the smallest part of your waist. Most times it is below your rib cage but above your navel. Next take the same tape and put it at the largest part of your hips. This should be the widest point that you have. Take the first number (your waist) and divide that by the second number (your hip). If the number you come up with is higher than 0.9, it is another warning factor for heart disease.
With all of these simple and quick tests, a man can quickly determine if he needs to see his doctor for further assistance. Blood pressure tests can be performed at most drug stores for free, the waist to hip ratio can be completed at home. Many local health fairs will offer complimentary, or a greatly reduced cost, for blood cholesterol monitoring. While working with
a physician they can also address other pertinent issues such as prostate health to ensure your at your optimal health.
The Greater Naples YMCA offers a wellness center, a 25 yard salt water pool, and access to nutritional services with our dietitian. We are able to help you lead a healthier lifestyle and are here for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. To find out more please visit us at our website: www.greaternaplesymca.org or call us at 239-597-3148.
Greater Naples YMCA | 5450 YMCA Road, Naples, FL 34109 | (239) 597-3148