A healthier approach to New Year’s resolutions—for men
This year, I swear I’m going to exercise more, drink less and eat better. You will not. Instead, you will do what most Americans do—start off the year like a bat out of hell at the gym and produce aisle, then resume a Big Mac-intensive diet in February and not run the Chicago Marathon in October.
Rather than going for the home-run resolutions, consider some of these bite-sized commitments designed to keep you around for another year:
- Book an appointment. Call your primary care physician in January and schedule a routine physical. Depending on your age, he will make recommendations for screenings, such as a colonoscopy or prostate exam. A routine blood draw will reveal your cholesterol and blood glucose.
- Think of your mom and dad. Genes play a role in many diseases, including prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. While it’s never guaranteed that you will have your “father’s high blood pressure,” there is plenty of research that suggests you don’t want to take that bet. Disclose your family history to your physician, and act accordingly—if diabetes is on one or both sides, maybe you want to put down those double chocolate donuts.
- This is a gym—walk through the door. More companies are offering health club benefits to their employees as incentives to keep them healthy. But whether it’s a YMCA membership or P90X DVDs, you need to do something. Luckily, we have technology to help us—there are plenty of apps for your mobile phone that will help track your blood pressure, heart rate and health habits. Many of them can also publish your progress on Twitter and Facebook to help garner support from your online friends. Yes, you still need to sweat, but something like the Nike Fuel Band will at least make it cool to do. Aim for three visits a week, or 2.5 hours of exercise a week.
- Check your head. Suicide is a leading men’s health risk at any age. So know the signs and symptoms of depression.
Make sure you talk to your doctor about a recommended exercise regimen. Remember that “resolutions” are for chumps—you just want to live longer and be healthier so that next New Year’s Eve you can have a chuckle when your friends all declare that this is the year they’ll run the Ironman triathlon.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.