With Father’s Day right around the corner, we are all taking that extra time to appreciate the men in our lives. But the best way we can show our love is to encourage you―our fathers, husbands, sons, grandpas, brothers and uncles―to take charge of your health, especially because June is Men’s Health Month.
Guys, here are a few of the most common mistakes you are making when it comes to your health:
- Not taking the time to snooze: When life gets busy, your sleep can often be the first thing to go. Aim for 7-9 hours―men who get this much sleep improve their thinking, mood and productivity levels.
- Making poor food choices: Summer is notorious for backyard barbecues with barbecue staples like hot dogs and hamburgers—but reducing the amount of red and processed meat in your diet decreases your risk of colorectal cancer. Opt for ground turkey instead of ground beef, and fill your plate with colorful summer veggies like tomatoes, eggplant, avocados and zucchini.
- Allowing stress to take over: Men are much more likely to internalize stress than women, which can affect your mental health. Recognizing and talking out the issue is the first step. Focusing on de-stressors like exercise, sleep and good nutrition can keep stress in check and improve your overall health and well-being.
- Skipping regular check-ups and screenings: Regular health check-ups and cancer screenings can help you prevent cancer or detect it early, when successful treatment is more likely. This week, make an appointment for a physical and talk to your health care professional about what screening options are right for you.
- Not making time for exercise: It’s easy to cut out exercise when your schedule is full with work and family obligations. Make exercising a priority and plan it into your weekly schedule. As summer approaches, take advantage of the sunshine and longer daylight. Get outside for fun, healthy activities like hiking, golfing, or walking.
- Forgetting the sunscreen: Whether you are 25 or 95, sunscreen matters! Even on cloudy days, wearing sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays (ultraviolet radiation). Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 20 minutes before going outside. Make sure you reapply every two hours.
- Smoking: About 40 percent of men worldwide smoke, compared to only 9 percent of women. Lung cancer is the most deadly form of cancer, and smoking is by far the leading cause. Smoking is also linked to several other types of cancer. If you smoke, it is crucial that you quit to help reduce your cancer risk. [Editor’s Note: For help quitting, call 1-800-QuitNow to be connected with a trained quit coach in your area.
- Not drinking water: Although soda and other sugary drinks are tempting, water is your healthiest option. Water helps you maintain a healthy weight, encourages normal organ function and increases energy levels. Find water boring? Add some lemon slices or try zero-calorie seltzer water to add some extra flavor.
Now that you are aware of these common mistakes, take the time to try some positive lifestyle changes. You can learn more about healthy living at preventcancer.org.
Ladies―there is no better Father’s Day gift than helping the men in your life live happily and healthily for years to come. Share this information and visit preventcancer.org for more information on reducing your cancer risk.