June is Men’s Health Month, an ideal time for men to get a checkup and assess their overall health. It’s also a great time to stop avoiding the doctor, something many men tend to do unless someone — maybe a spouse — urges them to be proactive about taking better care of themselves.

Get a checkup

Many men, but not all, tend to wait until something is seriously wrong until they decide to go see their doctor, but that is faulty thinking. Your doctor can help you more by keeping you healthy to prevent problems.

Listen to your doctor, especially if you already have health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Your doctor isn’t trying to keep you from having fun. He or she wants to keep you as healthy as possible so you can continue enjoying life.

Is it time for important screenings, perhaps a prostate exam, blood test or other evaluations? Maybe there is a vaccination that you need. Make it a priority.

It’s no secret that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, responsible for an estimated 1 in every 4 male deaths. As a result, men need to take action to keep from ending up as a bad statistic.

Smoking and alcohol use

Some of things you can do to stay healthy might appear to be no-brainers, but that only means you have no excuse not to act today.

Don’t use tobacco products. Smoking is bad for your lungs and heart, and chewing or dipping tobacco can lead to a variety of cancers. Chances are your doctor can help you quit.

Drink only in moderation if you choose to consume alcohol. Your cancer risk can rise with the amount of alcohol you consume. Too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure and put you at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke.

Many health organizations recommend that men under 65 limit themselves to no more than two drinks a day. Men 65 and older are advised to limit themselves to one drink a day.

Eat better, move more

Watch what you eat. Try consuming more vegetables, fruits and fish, which is a lean source of good protein. Cut your sugar, sodium and fat intake. You will feel better, and it is likely eating better will help you lose weight and have more energy. Maintaining a healthy weight can also lower your risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Exercise is also important to your overall health. Regardless of your age, it is likely you can find some exercise you can do that is beneficial for your body and mind. Here are just a few options:

Walking – A brisk walk can burn calories, get your heart rate up and strengthen your core. You don’t have to race walk. Just try to push yourself and see how far and fast you can go. You can build up stamina over time.

Running – You can run almost anywhere at any time. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes and some motivation. You can run on your favorite walking trail or on the treadmill. Consider your various options. Make sure you purchase a good pair of running shoes.

Racket sports – From tennis to pickleball, racket sports provide a variety of options for men of all ages. Your local gym might have racquetball or squash courts. Many communities have tennis courts that are open to the public.

Weightlifting – As men age, they often lose muscle mass. Weight-bearing exercises can help you burn fat and increase your overall strength. Forget the image of the body builder. Try using light weights and working on the number of reps you do.

Stay connected

Humans are meant to be social people and loneliness is not good for your health. Men are often guilty of focusing on their careers and sometimes lack companionship if they don’t have family to turn to.

There are ways to build relationships if you are struggling. Try volunteering or joining a civic organization. Take a class in something that interests you. People with strong relationships tend to be healthier. Don’t try to go it alone.

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