Men: please take care of your health this summer

Special to The Sun City PacketJuly 1, 2012 

Save enough pennies and you have a dime. Save enough dimes and you have a dollar. Save enough dollars and, well, get what you have always wanted, like that big screen television, cool car or vacation home.

It may take some time for the big ticket items, but if you work hard and start saving early, you can achieve your goal. Staying healthy can work the same way. By doing little things like wearing sunscreen or going for a walk, you can improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life.

Good lifestyle habits can pay high dividends in the long run. Here are a few healthy living tips that have been proven to help men avoid chronic illnesses and premature death.

Start moving. Regular exercise can help prevent and control both high blood pressure and diabetes, and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. You can stay fit with many different activities, from jogging and swimming to gardening and dancing.

Eat right. Take extra helpings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while passing on the deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, and packaged snack items. Limit saturated fat by choosing fish and poultry.

Don't smoke. Smoking is associated with heart disease, cancer and lung disease.

Drink responsibly. Moderate drinking of no more than two drinks per day for men is okay, but don't overdo it.

Stay safe. Wear the proper protective gear when participating in sports and fasten your seat belt when riding in or driving a car.

Learn about your family's health history. Certain health conditions can be passed on from one generation to the next. When several family members have heart disease, diabetes or some cancers, you may be at increased risk for that health problem as well.

Get regular checkups. Check with your doctor about when you need to have a prostate exam, colonoscopy or other preventive health screening. Some diseases and conditions do not cause symptoms, so it is important to get screened before signs appear.

Check your numbers. Monitoring blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index can help catch underlying health problems early.

Get vaccinated. Immunity from some vaccinations can fade over time and make adults more susceptible to diseases.

Stay balanced. Try to equalize the stress of professional and personal obligations with relaxing activities that you enjoy. Be sure to get enough sleep.

Go outside. Get 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure daily for a sufficient amount of vitamin D. But don't overdo it. Too much exposure to the sun can increase the risk for skin cancer.

By making smart lifestyle choices every day, most men can stay healthy well into their golden years. For more information about living a healthy life, talk with your doctor or call 877-582-2737 for a free referral to a physician near you.

Holly Mlodzinski, MS,RD,LD, is health promotions coordinator at Hilton Head Hospital.

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