Fixing men’s health: Control your weight
It is no secret that obesity is widespread. Nearly three out of every four men are either overweight or obese, and 50 per cent of men do not engage in vigorous leisure-time physical activity for more than 10 minutes, according to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
June is being observed as Men’s Health Month, and if these statistics have not convinced you to start making healthier lifestyle choices, then at least start adopting better habits for the sake of your children. A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour found that fathers have a major impact on children’s food choices; namely, how often they eat fast food and other restaurant food, which can in turn affect their own risk for weight problems.
According to veteran urologist and lecturer of urology at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Professor William Aiken, men traditionally do not engage in preventative healthcare. Unfortunately, he said men wait until they have signs of a disease or they are in an advanced state where the illness can no longer be cured.
“Culturally, they boast that they have never been to a doctor’s office and they wear it as a badge of honour. There is the idea that not seeking preventative healthcare is seen as macho. It is a big problem, and there needs to be a drive to change this behaviour,” Professor Aiken said.
So, ready to spend a little less time on the couch? Let these simple tips motivate you to fuel your body with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Also ensure that you have regular checks with your doctor to ensure your healthy lifestyle is maintained.
• VARY YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE
Alternate your exercise activities to stay motivated to work out, variety is good for both the mind and body. Your body can get used to the same thing if it is done over and over again.
To keep your body guessing, combine different types of fitness workouts, mix up a cardio workout like running with strength training, yoga, and martial arts, or vary your tempo within any one activity through interval training.
• FIND A FITNESS BUDDY
Do you need extra motivation to stick with your fitness and diet plan? Do not go it alone, enlist the help of a buddy. Not only does working out with a friend keep you both focused on fitness, it also adds an edge of competition, especially if you pick a workout buddy who’s a bit more advanced and will make you feel challenged. You will work harder to keep up and reach your fitness goals.
• READ NUTRITION LABELS
Reading package labels is a must to keep from sabotaging a healthy diet with oversized portions and unhealthy ingredients in processed foods. Many times, there are three to four servings per package, not just one.
Avoid foods with trans fats and limit sugars; less than 7 grams per serving is a good idea. Look for high-fibre foods, which contain more than 3 grams of fibre per serving.
Remember that the fresher foods you add to your diet, rather than processed lunch meats or pre-packaged meals, the easier it is to ensure that you are getting essential daily nutrients.
• KEEP COOKING SIMPLE
When you are following a healthy diet and cooking at home, make sure your preparation methods are also healthy. Bake, grill, steam, or sauté foods rather than breading and deep-frying them.
Cook with healthy fats, such as olive or canola oil instead of butter, and season with fresh or dried herbs, not salt. Order food prepared in these healthful ways when you eat out, too.
• DEVELOP STRENGTH-TRAINING EXERCISES
Strength training is a key part of any fitness plan, both for variety and to build calorie-burning muscle. You do not have to lift weights or spend hours at the gym, you can tone your muscles at home or at the office just a few minutes at a time.
Push-ups are great for working the chest, triceps, and shoulders and you can do them anywhere. Squats and lunges are also effective because they work multiple muscles and are easy to add to any fitness routine.