Men need to pay more attention to their health once they turn 55. Generally speaking, men pay far less attention to this aspect of their lives than women do.
This stage of life is characterized by change. Kids leave home, you retire, or at least slow your workforce participation, your parents, other extended family members and friends may pass on. You suddenly find yourself with the time to pick up a new hobby or rekindle an old one, become more involved in your community, reignite old friendships and create new ones. The big ambitions you held dear in your 30’s and 40’s don’t seem so important now. Leaving the workforce may leave you feeling rudderless but this is temporary. Equilibrium will return.
You want to be able to enjoy the extra time you now have. To be an active participant in what life has to offer in your senior years, you need to be as healthy as you can be. The leading causes of sickness and death in men over 55 are heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease.
Here are a few lifestyle changes to adjust to get the most out of each and every day:
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Take steps to reduce the stress in your life or learn to manage your stress in healthy ways. You’ve heard it many times but try being still and practice deep breathing for 15 minutes every day. Practice this at the same time daily so that it becomes habitual.
Limit your sodium, saturated fat and red meat. Increase your consumption of fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains and fish.
You don’t have to take up marathon running but do include something that makes you move your body every day. Take your dog for a walk or just take yourself. Engage in a sport you enjoy. Try cycling around the hood. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something!
LIMIT ALCOHOL AND DON’T SMOKE
Drink in moderation only. Too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure. If you need help to quit smoking, talk to us at Heart Pharmacy and we’ll be happy to show you all the smoking cessation aids available to you.
KEEP YOUR WEIGHT DOWN
If you exercise and eat healthy this will be a natural collateral benefit you reap. You’ll also lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Lastly, see your doctor. Many men don’t have a regular doctor. We know it can be a challenge to find one in Victoria but keep at it and you will find one. It’s important to have a primary health care provider that is fully aware of your medical history as well any current issues you may be facing. If you do have a doctor, quit avoiding seeing him or her. This is very common among men.
Get your annual check-up and follow through on any health evaluations your doctor recommends. Be proactive. Don’t wait for something to be seriously wrong before you seek help. Your doctor is your best ally for preventing health problems.
Treat your body like you do your car. If you need a tune-up, get one!