Most of us know men of many different ages in our lives, so let’s take a moment during Men’s Health Month to remind them of some healthy habits as they age through the decades!
IN YOUR 20s:
Now’s the time when you may feel you are in your prime and you’ll never feel the effects of an excessive lifestyle. But now’s the time when you should develop healthy behaviors that you can sustain for decades to come!
- Do not start a smoking habit, and learn to control other excesses such as food and alcohol – eat and drink in moderation.
- Stay sexually healthy – protect yourself again sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
- Develop good exercise habits now while you’re young and fit, when you are less likely to have physical impairments that prevent certain activities.
- If you haven’t already, start a daily routine of using sunscreen to prevent future skin cancer.
- Be sure to develop a relationship with a primary care physician you trust – don’t fall into the mindset that you can deal with any health issues on your own because you think nothing could be seriously wrong with you at this age.
- Establish good sleep habits now – 7 to 8 hours per night – and maintain that throughout your life to remain productive and potentially prevent disease.
IN YOUR 30s:
Many changes typically occur during this time – building your career and starting a family – which may cause you to forget about taking care of yourself.
- You may have to alter your fitness routine around new work and family schedules, so find a time and activity that you can commit to. If you set attainable goals like exercising 3-4 times per week, you’ll be more likely to stick with it rather than setting a goal of 7 times when you know that you cannot reach it.
- Try to find time for yourself to de-stress, from reading to fishing to team sports. Remember that stress can be a contributor to heart disease.
- Get regular physicals and stay up-to-date about your health – learn about your blood pressure, cholesterol, and body fat so you can make informed choices about a healthy diet and exercise plan.
IN YOUR 40s AND 50s:
The pressures of maintaining a work-life balance may be building during this time. You may be trying to work more to earn enough to send your kids to college or to retire by 65. But remember that if you don’t maintain your health now, you may not be able to enjoy your later years.
- It’ll probably feel like it’s easier to gain weight and harder to lose weight than ever before, so portion control and healthy food choices are key at this age.
- If you feel you cannot participate in joint-jarring activities anymore, don’t pass on exercise altogether! Keep up your strength with low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, cycling, hiking, and the elliptical machine – and don’t forget to stretch!
- Keep up with your annual physicals and monitoring of cholesterol and blood pressure, and talk to your physician about additional screenings for certain diseases. It may be time for tests on your colon, prostate, and/or kidneys at this age.
- You may experience loss of libido or erectile dysfunction at this age – talk to your doctor to see if lifestyle changes or medication could make a positive impact.
IN YOUR 60s:
Many men are still working at this age, or getting ready for retirement. It can be an exciting time to consider the possibilities of travel or new hobbies during your retirement, but it can also be a fearful time as you think more about aging and not being able to do what you could do when you were 20.
- Be sure to have a support system in place to discuss any emotional concerns you have, with friends, family, or a professional therapist.
- Keep exercising as best as you can! Bone density can start to become an issue at this age – keep up your strength training and walking! Take up a new hobby that can be combined with exercise, like golf – which could equate to several hours of walking. If walking gets to be too painful due to arthritis or other joint pain, try yoga or Pilates to preserve muscle and bone mass.
- Many diseases begin to have an increased risk at this age, so keep your annual checkups with your physician to monitor heart health, weight, and diet.
- Diseases – like flu – that may have affected you less as a young adult could be serious at an older age. Be sure to ask your physician about any immunizations that you may need at this time.
- Many men experience urinary and bladder issues at this age – be sure to discuss with your physician if you have urgency issues or inability to urinate, or if you experience blood in your urine or semen.
- Keep your mind sharp with crossword and Sudoku puzzles, or even board games with friends.
IN YOUR 70s, 80s, AND 90s:
It’s an important time to focus on your mental health as much as your physical health. Some men experience depression and loss during this time as friends and family pass away. They also become sedentary as more body aches and pains materialize.
- Try to stay connected socially – join a book club, poker group, or bowling league – it can be both a source of fun and also a network to rely on during emotional times.
- Continue to visit your physician at least once a year, as the incidence of diseases rises in these decades. According to AARP, heart disease is the leading cause of death for people 75 through 84. Stay in contact more frequently if you notice unusual physical changes, such as unplanned weight loss, or side effects of medications.
- Try to get any exercise you can, even if it’s just chasing the grandkids! But make sure you are safe while doing so, and that you know how to contact someone in case of a fall or injury.
- Keep your mind alert by reading the newspaper daily to stay up-to-date on current events. Along with exercise, it may help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.
In addition to seeing your family care physician regularly throughout the decades, be sure to keep up with your other doctors’ exams for your vision, hearing, dental health, skin, and any other issue affecting your health.
If you’d like to schedule a physical with one of our providers, please contact us for an appointment!
If you missed any of our other blogs during Men’s Health Month, take a look at our articles on cardiovascular disease and prostate health.
The content provided in our website blogs is offered for informational purposes only, and it should not be considered as the practice of medicine or medical advice regarding the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition or disease. You should consult with a medical professional if you have any questions regarding a condition or disease in relation to your specific healthcare needs. If you feel that you are experiencing a medical emergency, please contact 911 immediately.