What comes to mind when you think of “Men’s Health” issues?
- Prostate cancer
- Erectile dysfunction
- Colour blindness (incidence is higher in males, it is an actual genetic issue)
- Selective hearing loss (suggested by my wife)
So why dedicate a week in June to bring attention to Men’s Health? The fact of the matter is that it is not so much about the reproductive organs that differentiate males from females, or the genetics but in how men typically cope with their health issues and the contributing factors that make them more susceptible to life threatening conditions, such as heart disease.
Whether it be a result of over work, inability to handle stress, chosen disregard or a lack of education around the importance of lifestyle and diet, men typically sleep less, don’t exercise enough (or properly), and have an unhealthy diet. In addition to this, men are less likely to discuss health concerns with their doctor, friends or family until they have a medical scare. That has to change and the good news is that there is a lot we can do to make that change. The Canadian Men’s Health Week campaign has put together an ebook that outlines some easy to implement lifestyle suggestions and some videos to get men motivated to make these changes as well as share their story.
Talk about it – you are not alone.
As men, we share the same basic anatomy, and within your family, the genetic lineage is carried forward. There is a really good chance that a friend or family member has gone through or knows someone that is going through what you are experiencing. Additionally, you may find support online in one or more of the many forums dedicated to men’s health concerns. If someone comes to you to share their story, try and hold that space for them, if you haven’t been through the same thing, just offer your ear and an open heart.
- A recent campaign has been launched by the Duke of Cambridge to support men’s mental health (Headsup).
- For men experiencing fertility challenges, the website Men’s FE Matters was started to connect men who share this journey and to provide resources for care and support.
- Manology is a course developed and offered in Vancouver to explore what it means to be men. The course is offered to men of all stages, viewpoints, orientations, and ethnicities.
What can you do to help support your health and wellbeing starting today?
Start with the basics; water, sleep, movement and food.
- 2-3 litres of clean drinking water or herbal tea throughout the day (start your day with a glass of water to prime the system and flush out metabolites from your sleep)
- 7-8 hours of restful sleep is essential for rejuvenation, hormone balance, and to reset the body’s ability to handle stress. The sleeping environment should be free from distraction, as dark as possible and quiet. Try to keep a similar schedule so that your body can sync up with the demands of the day and rest during the night.
- Movement is key to circulation and development of your body. The vessels of your body depend on muscle contraction to move the blood and lymph fluid from the extremities back to the organs for filtering and redistribution. Make exercise something that you look forward to and have it be a daily activity. Exercise does not have to be done for long periods of time, nor should it be the same movement each and every time. There are around 650 muscles in the human body, that is a lot! Enjoy moving them all. When in doubt; skip, laugh, dance and sing.
- The number of meals that someone should consume in a day are hotly disputed at this time. Whatever system is working or you, make sure that the food that you ingest is as clean as you can get. What I mean by that is to choose food that is preservative, hormone and pesticide free. These are chemicals that distort the growth of the plant or animal you are ingesting and ultimately have an effect on your body too. Safe levels of toxins do not mean optimal levels. Be honest with yourself, will the food that you are taking in give your body the best source of nutrients and energy that it needs to be its best.
By Harris Fisher – See bio page