How to Be a Healthy Father and Grandfather

Let's face it—men are notorious for avoiding the doctor and neglecting their health. Still, even though this may be true for most, it doesn't mean it has to be true for you.

As a male, there are specific aspects of your health that you need to be cognizant of. Follow these tips to remain hale and hearty for the years to come:

1. Eat well. You've been told this by your doctor, your wife, even your mother, but "healthy" eating elicits memories of bland vegetables and rubbery chicken. But it doesn't have to be this way. Healthy eating can be exciting. Focus on eliminating empty carbohydrates, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Work in more lean protein, whole grains, and leafy greens. Eat this way 80 percent of the time, and allow yourself the other 20 percent to indulge in your favorites.

2. Exercise. It doesn't mean you have to join the local gym and stay for hours at a time. Going for a brisk walk or bike ride with the family, playing with kids, or heading out on a hike with friends will not only help you burn calories and keep your heart in good shape, but it will help build positive relationships with your loved ones.

3. Go for checkups. Simply visiting your doctor for a yearly checkup can prevent larger issues from occurring. Healthy men should see their primary physician at least once a year.

4. Exam time. It's no surprise that as we age we become more susceptible to health conditions. To prevent larger health risks, it's essential that you stay on top of your exam schedule. These guidelines are provided by the Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Colorectal Cancer. Starting at age 50, get a screening test for colorectal cancer. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, your doctor may suggest that you be screened earlier.
  • Blood pressure. Beginning at 18 years old, have your blood pressure checked at least every two years.
  • Cholesterol. The American Heart Association suggests that you should have your cholesterol checked every five years beginning at 20. You may need a screening more than that if you're a man over 45 years old.
  • Prostate Exam. The American Cancer Society recommends that, beginning at the age of 50, you should have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal exam. Men who are at high risk or have a family history of prostate cancer should be screened beginning at the age of 45.

5. Quit smoking, curb drinking. Simply following this advice will greatly improve your healthy. It's never too late to ditch the habit and start anew.

6. Manage stress. Life is stressful. There's no denying that. How you manage that stress will make the difference. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter soothes tension in the muscles and relieves stress. What's more, laughter can boost immunity and relieve pain.

Laughter not doing it for you? Try going on vacation. Getting away from the daily grind with a loved one can give you the peace of mind you've been looking for.

7. Read. No, this isn't your English teacher speaking. Reading more has real health benefits. The more you learn, the stronger your brain becomes. Keeping your brain sharp and digesting new information can battle against injury and even Alzheimer's.




The Benefits of Laughter

How to Get Your Cholesterol Checked

Psychosomatic Medicine September 1, 2000 vol. 62 no. 5 608-612