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How to improve your health this Men’s Health Week

How to improve your health this Men’s Health Week

6 ways to improve your health this Men’s Health Week

Our tips for better men’s health

Did you know that around 40% of poor health and premature death among Australian men can be prevented? This is an important statistic because Australian males account for a larger portion of ill health and death (53%) compared to females (47%).

This week (Monday 10th June – Sunday 16th June) is Men’s Health Week 2024. It’s the 30th anniversary of this international awareness campaign which began in the US in 1994.

The intention of Men’s Health Week is to promote health prevention and healthy habit stacking. According to the Good Health Heroes from Healthy Male, good health doesn’t just happen, but it doesn’t have to be hard. From making a few small changes in your life, you can look forward to a healthier, happier tomorrow.

Here are some tips:

1. Get physical

Less than a quarter of Aussie adults get the recommended amount of physical activity each week and according to the Australian Men’s Health Forum, 10 Australian men a day die as a result of being physically inactive.

Being active is really important – physical activity can help prevent and manage many chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and many cancers. It’s also essential for maintaining mobility, strength, and overall health.

While intense exercise may not be feasible for everyone, there are plenty of low-impact activities that can make a big difference. You could try:

  • Walking: Even short, daily walks can boost cardiovascular health and improve mood.
  • Swimming or water aerobics: These activities are gentle on the joints and provide excellent exercise.
  • Chair exercises: For those with limited mobility, chair exercises can help maintain strength and flexibility.

2. Eat well

Many of us love to nibble on a pie and sauce at the footy or indulge in an ice cream at the beach. But did you know that a third of our energy is coming from these discretionary foods with high levels of salt, sugar and fat? Plus, 9 out of 10 Aussie adults aren’t getting the recommended serving of veggies each day.

Nutrition plays a really critical role in managing health, particularly as we age or if we have a disability. Eating foods high in minerals, vitamins and fibre can fight against disease, help our digestive health and can save our teeth by reducing the amount of sugar we eat and drink. Here are some tips for improving your diet:

  • Eat a wide variety of foods which includes fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
  • Try to eat more vegetables than meat for each meal. This could include grating vegetables into meals like pasta or curry, roasting a heap of vegetables to have on the side or serving every meal with a simple salad.
  • Make sure you hydrate with plenty of water each day.

3. Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential for supporting your immune system and helping protect you from chronic diseases. The long-term impacts of sleep deprivation can include an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, anxiety and dementia.

As you age the quality and quantity of your sleep changes, however your body still needs to get plenty of rest. If you’re in pain or discomfort or have a chronic condition, you might not be getting the sleep you need.

Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Set up a consistent sleep routine including going to bed and waking up at the same time daily.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment with a supportive mattress and pillows.
  • Minimise stimulating distractions like TV and phones before bed. Instead engage in calming activities like reading a book or taking a bath.
  • Keep daytime naps short and avoid late-afternoon naps.
  • Exercise regularly but not too close to bedtime.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evening.
  • Spend time outside each morning and afternoon for sunlight exposure.

4. Get your health checks done

Routine health screenings are crucial for early detection and management of potential health issues. You should have a doctor you see regularly who can help advise which checkups and screenings you need. Screenings for heart disease, diabetes, prostate health, and vision and hearing checks are particularly important.

Other things to remember:

  • Ask your healthcare provider questions. If you’re not sure about something, don’t hesitate to ask questions about your health and treatment plans.
  • Keep up to date with information relevant to your condition.
  • Use resources. Many organisations have resources and support for older people or people with disabilities so you can understand any condition you might have and connect with people who might be in a similar position as you.

5. Reduce your risk of disease

There are plenty of other things you can do to reduce your risk of disease and keep yourself as healthy as possible. For example, alcohol consumption is linked to many types of cancer, smoking can harm almost every part of your body and excessive sun can cause deadly skin cancers.

Some ways to reduce this risk include:

  • Reducing your alcohol consumption to moderate levels can lower the risk of liver disease, cardiovascular issues and certain cancers.
  • Quitting smoking can make a big difference in reducing your risk of developing various lung diseases, heart disease and other serious health complications.
  • Protect your skin from sun damage by wearing sunscreen, protective clothing and avoiding sun exposure in the middle of the day.

6. Stay connected

We know how important it is to stay connected. When you’re connected with family and friends, it can reduce cognitive decline and you reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and even premature mortality.

There are lots of ways you can increase social connections in your life:

  • Look around your neighbourhood – is there anyone new to the area who you could welcome?
  • Think about your interests and look around for a relevant group or club where you can meet like minded people.
  • Reach out to an old friend or colleague who you haven’t been in touch with for a while.
  • Look into volunteering opportunities. It can be a wonderful way to not only meet new people but to feel a sense of purpose.
  • Consider receiving services in the home from trusted providers, Five Good Friends can guide you through the process.

If you'd like to know more about how Five Good Friends can help improve your health, get in touch with our team. We help people lead engaged and successful lives at home.

Learn more: Gail's story: Regaining confidence and independence

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