The month of June is designated by Congress as Men’s Health Month.
The goal of this national observance is to raise awareness of men’s health issues and encourage boys and men of all ages, as well as their families, to practice healthier lifestyle habits.
“During Men’s Health Month, we encourage men to take control of their health, and for families to teach young boys healthy habits throughout childhood,” says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health press release.
In every single age group, men face a greater risk of death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, on average, men die five years earlier than women, due to a broad range of causes, including heart disease and workplace injuries, suicide and alcohol-related diseases, as well as fatal drug overdoses.
The month of June is an opportunity for boys and men of all ages to come together and learn about how a healthier lifestyle can help prevent many diseases and improve overall lifespan and wellbeing.
What are 3 Ways to Recognize Men’s Health Month?
Celebration, education and motivation are key elements for Men’s Health Month.
As a way to celebrate a healthier lifestyle, take the opportunity to organize group outings.
These can be hikes on neighborhood trails, a friendly golf tournament, softball games, a pickup basketball game or any other type of inclusive physical exercise.
Even a minimal amount of regular physical activity, like a brisk walk during the lunch break, can improve the body and mind and be a catalyst for smarter, healthier living.
Educate people about men’s health. Younger men are often overlooked in this area because they appear to be beacons of health. Yet, they are especially vulnerable to ignoring potential health risks unless they know or meet someone and hear stories about overcoming disease, recovering from addiction or rehabbing an injury.
Invite health professionals and survivors to local civic centers, have them share their personal experiences about men’s health and, if possible, allow time for a Q&A session.
Make sure they’re informed by providing men of all ages with information from organizations like the Men’s Health Library.
Make sure to motivate other men about staying on top of their health.
Men are much more likely to skip a yearly physical examination by a physician than women. These exams are crucial in the early detection of health issues like diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
One way to motivate the older and younger generations of men to see a doctor might be to make appointments for everyone on the same day.
A trip to see the doc together can build camaraderie and open important lines of discussion about men’s health.
What Can Men Do to Improve Their Health?
Men are often more active than women of the same age, and that’s a positive in their favor, but as they age, men tend to slow down a bit.
It doesn’t take a lot of change to improve health, and making small adjustments in a positive direction can have enormous benefits.
Three of the most important health improvements to make include:
- Exercising regularly
- Eating healthier foods
- Getting proper sleep
Start slow and improve each one a little at a time, until they become part of a regular daily routine. Once each one becomes a habit, work to increase them to reach optimal levels.
An increase in any type of exercise should suffice, but making it something that is enjoyable will have a more lasting impact and make it easier to continue doing.
Adding an extra side of fruits or vegetables with one meal a day goes a long way, and after a few weeks, add another side of fruits or veggies for two meals a day. At the same time, cutting back on one unhealthy item a day can also tip the scales in the right direction.
A daily exercise routine combined with eating healthier food often helps to aid in the quality of sleep each night. An extra 30 minutes of sleep each night equates to 3.5 more hours by the end of the week, which might also translate to less stress during the day. Reducing stress is another important health tip.
After several months of improvement in these areas, most men will recognize a difference in the way the feel each day.
Wear Blue for Men’s Health Month
Across the country, men who are mindful of their health are planning “wear blue” days as a sign to other men about the importance of Men’s Health Month.
It’s important to raise awareness by attending or organizing a men’s health fair in the month of June or writing an op-ed about these issues and submitting it to the local paper.
Whatever the path, use the month of June as a launch pad to celebrate, educate and motivate yourself and the men in your community to live a healthier lifestyle.