Men are notorious for avoiding a trip to the GP. If you’re a guy with a health niggle you can’t afford to be passive. More often than not, that worrying symptom will turn out to be nothing serious. Importantly, in most cases the problem can be effectively treated, especially if it’s nipped in the bud. Leave things unchecked and you could be heading for a serious health problem.
Here are our top 7 tips for taking charge of your health:
1 – Find a doctor you are comfortable with. You need to be able to speak open and frankly with your GP, even when it could feel a little embarrassing.
2 – Don’t put off seeing your GP or private health practitioner, even if you feel stupid. They would rather you were given peace of mind than delay your appointment and end up having to deal with something more serious.
3 – Go for screening tests, even when you feel well. Some diseases don’t show symptoms straightaway, but if picked up on screening tests, many illnesses are more easily treatable. Even serious illnesses have a better prognosis if caught early. Prostate cancer is a typical example and when picked up early, the treatment is the most effective.
4 – Exercise, but vary your workouts. If you aren’t doing any exercise at all, then it’s time you made a start. Begin slowly and build up your reps and regularity. Choose a mix of aerobic and stretching exercise regimes, as well as muscle training. Pilates, yoga, circuit training, and cycling or swimming are all great options in addition to your regular gym workouts.
5 – Healthy eating is essential for good health. That goes for men and women (kids too). Nutrition is also essential if you’ve upped the exercise. Cut down on sugar. Avoid prepared food full of additives and preservatives. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and salads, lean meat and fish, plus wholegrains. Cut down on bacon and sausages, and other processed meats as high consumption may raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
6 – Cut down on alcohol If you enjoy an alcoholic drink, start paying attention to how much you are drinking. The UK Chief Medical Officers’ guideline for the safe drinking of alcohol to keep health risks at a low level is 14 units a week. Cut down by having some alcohol free days, drink water between alcoholic drinks on a night out, try low-alcohol drinks and when you are drinking try to limit alcohol to mealtimes.
7 – Get enough sleep Don’t compromise on sleep. Get at least 7 hours per night. Go to bed at a regular time, avoid caffeine and alcohol, banish tech prior to bedtime and get some black-out curtains.