“It’s not cool for a guy to wait until he’s 50 to see a doctor,” says Steven Lamm, MD, the medical director of NYU Langone Medical Center’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health. “Men need to care about their health above the waistline as well as below.”
Here are some of his recommendations:
1. Find a doctor:
Choose one you’re comfortable with, so you can “openly discuss all aspects of your health, from your mental state to your sexual function to your overall wellness,” Lamm says.
2. See that doctor:
“Just because you are feeling well doesn’t mean you are well. Have a tendency toward denial? Don’t ignore things like black stools, vision loss, or chest pain. Unfortunately, men have a tendency to do just that.”
3. Get informed:
“You do want to be knowledgeable and understand that you shouldn’t ignore symptoms or complaints, but you don’t want to self-diagnose.”
4. Vary your workouts:
“The body gets very comfortable when you always do the same workout. You have got to keep varying your exercises, and they have to be an age-appropriate mix of aerobics, muscle training, and stretching.”
5. Eat to thrive:
Getting enough nutrition is crucial. “It’s more important than anything else except maybe sleep,” Lamm says. “Focus on nutrients rather than calories,” and eat a variety of healthy foods. “You can’t achieve optimum nutrition with limited choices.”
6. Prioritize sleep:
“Get at least 7 hours. That’s not something you should compromise. Men think they can overcome sleep deprivation by exercising or whatever,” but that’s a bad idea, he says.
7. Check your head:
“Mental health is really, really important. Think about several things: Are you drinking too much? Are you paying attention to signs of depression or bipolar disorder, which often get missed? If you have a family history of mental illness, suicide, and/or substance abuse, you really need someone to help you review the signs and symptoms.”