Men’s Health Week – APL Health
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Men’s Health Week

So chaps, this June brings us Men’s Health Week, and we want to see all our lads healthy and happy, inside and out.

There is always much debate about what it means to be healthy. Does it mean going to the gym religiously, or delving into herbalism nutrition and drinking all sorts of concoctions. The answer is neither, or at least neither works for everyone. Living a healthy lifestyle is down to the individual and their personal preference; what works for one person may not for another. For instance, if you shy away from gyms but love tai chi and health foods, then great. Do what works for you.

You can arrive at being healthy in any way you choose, it’s entirely up to you! In society today we are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the right formula to become healthy or maintain our good health. It is easy to get caught up in purely the aesthetical side of what we perceive to be healthy, and neglect the important figures which underpin good health. If we change our focus to lowering our BMI to less than 25, cholesterol levels to less than 5 and maintaining a blood pressure of 120/80, the physical rewards will follow, whether your looking to shed a few pounds, increase your muscle tone or just be happier in yourself.

Fancy giving it a go?

Diet – First things first, good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of how much you exercise, eating the wrong foods will have a detrimental effect to your health and your physical goals. Without good nutrition, your body is more prone to disease, infection, fatigue, and poor performance

The most important word in relation to a good diet is balance. Having a balanced diet doesn’t mean eating ‘rabbit food’ all day every day, or doubling your intake of protein. It means providing your organs and tissues with the correct calories to help them work effectively. Therefore the source of your daily calories is just as important as the number of calories you consume. Different nutrients play different roles in replenishing the body. Proteins are involved in growth, repair and general maintenance. Carbohydrates are usually the main source of energy. Balance therefore means ensuring your intake provides you with the appropriate nutrients to keep all of your bodily systems healthy.

The best way to alter your diet in a positive way is by making small changes. For example, some people enjoy snacking, and that’s fine. Just substitute the unhealthy snacks you would usually eat with healthier options, such as dried fruit, unsalted nuts and popping corns. Some people feel that skipping meals such as breakfast, and going hungry until lunch time will help them to become healthier and lose weight. This is false! Don’t skip meals, particularly breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, and studies show that those who regularly eat breakfast are generally healthier and have more success losing weight, and keeping it off.

A good rule to adopt when trying to eat healthily is to cook meals from scratch, and that doesn’t mean jar or packet sauces. Try something different such as choosing plants over meat. You can get plenty of protein from nuts, seeds and legumes, whilst they contain a fraction of the fat and help to protect your bowels from various cancers.

Exercise – A healthy lifestyle should generally consist of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week, with a bit of muscle strengthening thrown in for good measure. If like me the idea of stepping foot in a gym horrifies you, then try an alternative form of exercise. The possibilities are endless! Why not try surfing, salsa or yoga? Not only are these a great way to improve your physiological health, but they are a great way to be social and meet new people. If none of those appeal to you, do some research online. Youtube is a great starting point; there are thousands of equipment free videos to follow in the privacy of your own home. You can also download fitness apps, packed with exercises and activities that you can complete outdoors at your local sports field or park.

Love the glove – Would you like to avoid five minutes of mild embarrassment to later face months, even years, of displaying your bits and bobs to every health care practitioner in your area? Thought not, gents, you gotta love the glove. Having a prostate exam and regularly self-checking your tackle (penis, foreskin and testicles) can help to catch cancer early and potentially save your life.

Alcohol intake – The recommended amount for alcohol consumption is no more than 14 units, spread evenly over three days. That’s a maximum of 4.6 units per day. Drinking in excess of this amount can damage your organs, leave you susceptible to many types of cancer, heart attack and stroke.

Mental health – Looking after your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health. Take time to stop and reflect. Do you feel stressed, are there things in your life that you can delegate or change to help relieve any stress you may be feeling? Try our reflective activity attached to this blog and do a self-assessment.

Reflection is a key part of maintaining good mental health. Some people deal with stress by ignoring it in the hope that it will go away. If you find yourself pushing on and trying to overcome stress by ignoring it, stop! This is a pattern that is bound to end in you taking too much on and can lead to mental health conditions such as stress, depression or anxiety.

A good plan for a healthy mind is to look after your body, diet and exercise. You would be surprised at how nutrition impacts your mental health. For instance, some nuts can be as powerful as a dose of Prozac. You should also make time for yourself and do something that makes you happy. Learn something new, read a chapter or two from your favourite book or watch a few episodes of something you enjoy on Netflix. Whatever you choose to do, make time every day to take stock, relax and wind down. This is a really good way to maintain good mental wellbeing.

Fact – A random healthy fact to leave you on; all men care about their hair, and no man relishes the prospect of going bald. However, some embrace it and go with a John McClane vibe, but for others it can seriously knock their confidence. One ingredient that can speed up hair loss is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) in your shampoo. This is a chemical designed to make the shampoo extra foamy, but has been shown in numerous studies to cause thinning hair and baldness in both men and women. To help maintain your locks for years to come, choose SLS and Paraben free shampoos, conditioners and body wash.

If you have been affected by anything in this blog post or would like more information on this topic, contact Senior Occupational Health Nurse Jamie Green on