Healthy Aging Strategies for Men
A Different Kind of Gender Disparity
For reasons that science can’t completely explain, women have a longer average life expectancy than men do. Some research suggests that this may be because women take greater care to maintain their health throughout their lifetimes, while men are less likely to schedule regular visits with their healthcare providers and more likely to partake in activities like smoking and drinking. Other factors may include chromosomal differences, cholesterol levels, weight distribution in obese individuals, workplace stress, social network strength, participation in risky behavior, diet, and exercise.1
It’s not a phenomenon limited to the United States, either. Harvard Men’s Health Watch found that “every country with reliable health statistics reports that women live longer than men.” This includes countries with both modernized societies and developing infrastructures.1 An article published by The British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2001 suggested that men do care about their health, contrary to beliefs that they don’t worry about their well-being, but feel unable to discuss their concerns or seek help from an appropriate source until the ailment has progressed to late and sometimes even untreatable stages. Social class and varying levels of access to medical resources compound the issue. Proposed solutions included better school education, increased access to non-emergent services like walk-in clinics, more structured promotion of health through occupational services, and gender consideration in the creation of health policies.2
An Unresolved Problem
It was regarded as a “young issue” at the time the article was published, but the men’s health landscape hasn’t changed much since then. A memo issued by the president of the United States on June 15 of this year pointed out that, on the whole, “men are less likely to visit or consult with a medical provider when faced with a medical issue or concern, increasing the chances of complications with any illness, including the coronavirus [COVID-19], that could be avoided with early detection and treatment.”3
Since 1994, June has been recognized as Men’s Health Month in the United States. With presidential support, Men’s Health Network aims to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys” throughout the month, using it as an opportunity to “encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.”4
With Father’s Day on the horizon, we wanted to share some tips we’ve compiled from experts to raise awareness about the importance of good health and what you can do to mitigate disease risks, age gracefully, and enjoy many golden years – and more Father’s Days with your family!
First and foremost, schedule regular checkups. One of the best things you can do for your long-term health is find a general practitioner you can get to know and trust, before any serious medical issues arise. That way he or she will be familiar with your health history and be able to identify any irregularities quickly – maybe even before you know something’s amiss. Many men view non-emergent healthcare as a sign of weakness, rather than a useful preventative measure. Sometimes called the John Wayne Syndrome, this tough-guy approach contributes to the ever-increasing number of avoidable deaths caused by heart disease and lung cancer. Don’t be that guy – your family will appreciate it! Regular screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate cancer, and colon cancer can help to detect disease early, while it can still be treated.
How’s your diet? It’s easy to over-consume salt and trans fats if you’re a frequent customer at the local burger joint. As you age, your body needs more nutrients to help keep all systems functional – fast food won’t cut it like it might have when you were a college student. Your diet should include high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruit, and whole grains to promote comfortable digestion and regular bowel movements. Prioritize lean proteins, good-quality fish, eggs, beans, and nuts for a heart-healthy diet. Avoid fatty meats, foods high in cholesterol, dairy products, processed foods, and added sugar and salt to lower your risk of diabetes, some kinds of cancer, and obesity.
Movement might not be as easy as it used to be, but it’s more important than it’s ever been. “Physical activity is the best way for men over age 50 to improve their heart health, muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. [It also] helps reduce the risk of some diseases, including dementia,” according to a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.5 Aerobic activity and strength training can slow the muscle mass, bone density, and strength losses that were long considered to be inevitable side effects of aging.6 And if you’re not 50 yet, that doesn’t mean you should wait to start an exercise program. The younger you are, the easier it will be to build muscle and increase endurance for strong bones and a healthy heart!
If you’re a drinker, keep your consumption moderate. Moderate alcohol consumption, which is defined as “no more than three drinks on a given day or seven drinks total in a week,” is not generally detrimental to healthy adults who have no underlying health conditions.7 For this reason, it’s not necessary to quit the bottle altogether. However, the damage an alcohol habit will inflict on your liver over time should encourage you to think twice about that fourth drink in a sitting. In addition to liver disease, excessive alcohol intake can weaken bones and muscles, contribute to or aggravate incontinence, and cause confusion and loss of memory.
Say no to cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Whether you were a chainsmoker back in the day or you like to puff on the occasional cigar, swearing off tobacco products is worth the sacrifice. Even if you’re over 50, it’s not too late to reap the benefits of quitting! Your body is naturally resilient and will heal the damage sustained from inhaling particulate matter, given the chance to repair itself. You can lower your risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke, and experience easier breathing, better smell and taste, and elevated energy levels – just by deciding not to light up anymore. And to support the healing process and encourage the cessation of smoker's cough, grab a bottle of Lung Support!
Finally, round out your routine with supplements designed to enhance your wellness from the inside out. U.S. Doctors’ Clinical offers a wide range of products formulated to address both specific needs and general ones. From cognitive support and joint health to immunity and anti-aging, U.S. Doctors’ Clinical has the innovative solutions that will deliver real results to help you achieve your health and vitality goals. Made with premium-sourced ingredients to ensure maximum purity and effectiveness, our products are formulated with your well-being in mind.
However you’re celebrating Father’s Day this year, we hope it’s a day full of love and laughter and that you’re encouraged to try our strategy suggestions to stay happy, healthy, and disease-free for many years to come!