To put it in a nutshell, they behave like true traditional male superheroes. And they think they are much healthier than women! Yet, men’s life expectancy in Canada is 4 years less than for women, at 79.8 years of age for men versus 83.9 years of age for women.
So guys, why don’t we talk about health?
Experts at Living Unhealthy Lifestyles
As part of a study conducted in Canada for the Men’s Health Foundation, 72% of the 2,000 polled men aged 19 to 94 admitted to having two bad lifestyle habits or more among the following:
- Poor diet: too much sugar, saturated fat and salt from ultra-processed foods;
- Being sedentary: not moderately or rigorously exercising for 150 minutes per week;
- Poor sleep hygiene: sleeping less than 7 hours or more than 9 hours a night;
- High alcohol consumption: more than 3 drinks a day;
- Smoking or having smoked.
Champions of Health Issues?
These “unfortunate” lifestyle habits from teenage years and early twenties don’t seem to have short-term consequences. But once the forties come around, repercussions start to emerge.
That’s when main threats to men’s health appear: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, prostate cancer, depression, suicide, chronic respiratory diseases, osteoarthritis, erectile dysfunction, etc.
for Men Only…
Did you know that making just a few changes to your lifestyle could make a big difference in reducing your risks of having these various problems?
Fill up on vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains, whole grains, healthy fats, meat, poultry, fish and seafood, legumes, eggs and dairy products. Avoid ultra-processed foods that are full of sugar, unhealthy fats and salt: they are associated with type 2 diabetes.
By losing weight through a healthy diet and by not gaining it back, you will reduce your risk of having heart disease and many types of cancer.
Exercising for 150 minutes a week helps reduce your risk of having heart disease, stroke and erectile dysfunction. Cycling, tennis, jogging, speed walking, team sports, etc., regardless of the chosen activity, you will benefit from it.
Don’t smoke. Also, avoid breathing second-hand smoke and exposing yourself to polluted air and chemicals, especially in the workplace. This will reduce your risk of having lung cancer and respiratory diseases.
In Canada, the recommendation is no more than 3 drinks per day (4 for special occasions), and not drink every day, for a maximum of 15 drinks per week. One drink represents 12 ounces (341 mL) of beer, 5 ounces (142 mL) of wine or 1.5 ounces (43 mL) of liquor. Drinking less alcohol and drinking less often reduces the risk of several cancers, including mouth and liver cancer. Also be aware that drinking too much alcohol increases your blood pressure.
Are you stressed out? Don’t stay that way. Take steps to reduce your stress or learn how to control it using various techniques. Chronic stress keeps you from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, weakens your immune system and can have harmful consequences on your health.
Depression is an important risk factor for suicide. If you feel sad or worthless and have lost interest in your activities, talk to a doctor. If you are thinking about suicide, seek help quickly.
Car, motorcycle and other accidents are a common cause of death in men. Buckle your seat belt, respect speed limits and don’t drink alcohol or do drugs before driving.
Go see him regularly. Don’t wait until you have a serious problem. He can help you prevent possible health problems.
A Strategy Worthy of a Man
Hesitating in getting started? Try the small step strategy. Start by changing one habit at a time. You will be surprised by the results. You will feel younger, just like millennials who are born between 1982 and 2000 for whom health and fitness are part of their lifestyle priorities.
According to a study published in the Psychology of Men and Masculinity journal, millennials give less importance to characteristics usually associated to masculinity: being strong, virile, competitive and neglecting the health. It looks like change is in the air!