Health Tips for Men
As a child, I remember sitting in elementary school watching a film which expounded on the evils of smoking. The plot of this presentation involved a race car driver speeding around the track in a very manly racing suit with a very manly helmet in a very manly vehicle. All the while, the background music played with energy the phrase, “He’ll smoke a Finster. He’s too tough to care!”
By Mike Haskew
“Too tough to care about what?” Well, turns out our hero was too tough to care about the risks of lung cancer, emphysema, and all the other dreaded maladies which are common among smokers. It strikes me that a great many “manly” men today continue to be too tough to care about things which can improve and lengthen their lives.
Put the manliness aside and do yourself a favor: Get a checkup. The annual physical is a no-brainer even though the hospital gown may remove the mystery of “boxers or briefs” for the medical professionals in attendance. Beyond that, note these simple but highly practical and useful tips for better living.
1. Try some shredded wheat for breakfast.
Whole grain cereals lower the risk of coronary heart disease, offer benefits to those suffering from diabetes, provide antioxidants, help reduce blood cholesterol, and help in weight management. Cereal made from refined grains lowers good cholesterol while raising insulin and C-reactive protein levels. No Frosted Flakes® boys!
2. Have a Kiss – Hershey’s that is.
Dutch scientists tell us that older men who eat four grams of cocoa per day (dark chocolate) have a 50 percent lower risk of death from heart disease than others who do not partake. So, pucker up!
3. Get some exercise to the tune of burning 1,100 calories per week.
This involves getting up, putting down the remote, and slowly backing away. Burning 1,100 calories per week prevents the accumulation of fat that can cause arterial inflammation and hypertension. Work up a sweat, and if necessary find a group to work out with. Nothing gets a manly man going like a little peer pressure.
4. Limit your alcohol intake to three drinks during a 24-hour period.
Okay, stop the hisses and boos. Research says that atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, is more likely with greater alcohol consumption and makes a stroke five times more likely.
5. Think positively.
A positive attitude adds zest to your life. Scientists at Purdue University, where a lot of intelligent people are happy a lot of the time, report that worry can shorten a man’s lifespan by 16 years.
6. Produce is for eating, not for throwing at a professional wrestling event.
Five servings per day lowers the risk of stroke by 26 percent over the uninformed machos among us who eat three servings or less. Low in fat and sodium and high in fiber, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and potassium.
7. Call an ambulance if you need emergency treatment.
Transportation to the ER allows you to break line! It’s not rude if you are having a heart attack, bleeding excessively, or having trouble breathing.
8. Chill out!
Don’t blow your top or express anger outwardly as often. If you are prone to fits of rage, road or otherwise, you are twice as likely to have a stroke as men who handle their hostility in a less aggressive manner. Pop some fish oil if your temper gets the better of you. Hostility actually lowers levels of Omega-3 fats.
9. Know your ratio.
Based on a study completed by the Archives of Internal Medicine, a better gauge of risk for heart disease is your good cholesterol (HDL) relative to your total cholesterol … So gentlemen, know your numbers!
10. Most men have vacuumed only the floorboards of their cars.
However, 30 minutes of rolling the Hoover around the house has been known to burn 150 calories and helped lower blood pressure by a whopping 13 points. Light dusting is optional.
11. Sleep on your side in order to reduce sleep apnea,
Sleep apnea may be the cause of those annoying multiple wake-ups during the night. Also it may lead to extreme daytime fatigue, and it is quite embarrassing to rear-end the car in front of you while nodding off.
12. Light a jasmine scented candle.
Doing this for just one minute helps men fall asleep faster. Yes, it is a form of aromatherapy, and men take to that type of thing about as readily as to a good pedicure. However, better sleep lowers risks of diabetes and stroke.
13. Look out for lightning.
Refrain from seating yourself on the toilet during a thunderstorm. Lightning strikes from within 60 feet of your house can blow you clean off the throne, says the National Weather Service.
14. Jaywalking will get you a ticket sometimes.
It can also get you killed, particularly if a man with sleep apnea is taking a siesta while rolling through your intersection of choice. Just don’t do it.
15. Air freshener in the car is a great idea!
Make it cinnamon or peppermint. It will increase alertness by 25 percent and decrease levels of frustration, anxiety and fatigue.
16. Any type of physical fall is decidedly unmanly, but if it is unavoidable, do your best to fall on your fanny.
It’s cushier and less likely to injure something vital – other than your pride.
17. Use watercress in your salad.
Okay, I admit that I am pretty clueless as to exactly what watercress is. Google it. Phone a friend. Watercress is rich in cancer fighting anti-oxidants and other good stuff.
18. Have four cups of coffee each day and reduce your risk of heart disease by 53 percent.
Of course, you could also become more productive and paint your house in record time, or maybe even do 30 minutes of vacuuming in half the time. Researchers have also found that regular coffee drinkers are 39 percent less likely to develop oral and pharynx cancers than those who don’t drink coffee.
19. Choosing the first stall in a public restroom provides numerous bonuses to the man who is willing to be up front.
More toilet paper and fewer germs are worth it. Just ask the person who conducted the research for this gem, visiting 51 sites to gather his data.
20. Cool down.
If you have a fever put an icepack in an out-of-the-way place like your groin or under your arm. Yes, it may be unmanly, but it works!
Mike Haskew is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and holds a degree in history. He is a native Chattanoogan and is currently an executive with First Citizens Bank.