Men’s Health Week is 8-14 June so this column is dedicated to making men healthier.
We all love our men to be cuddly and none more so than our fathers. But cuddly is not always as warm and comforting as it seems.
Having 2 older brothers and a very focussed, driven father, I know it can be tough to get them to pay attention to their health and well-being.
It seems to be for some reason that they just stick their heads in the sand and deny that there could possibly be anything wrong with them and that they're ‘as fit as a fiddle”, to quote my father, until of course something does happen.
But let’s get real: it is usually a pretty big thing for them to take notice of their own health.
So what can we do about it to help our men without getting their backs up? Big call I know, but try the cuddly test approach and I'll guarantee a thoughtful even possibly ‘take action’ response.
First off, we need to speak in their terms, so I always use the car analogy that it goes something like this:
“Our bodies actually give us signs and signals when things are not optimal or functioning as well as they could, and it’s prudent to check things out – a bit like taking the car in for a service when the warning light comes on.
“Now men, I know you would think it is terrible if we women were driving our cars around with the warning light on – you taught us well and we know we need to get it checked out before something major happens. So can we run a warning light checklist by you just to see if there is a need for your own personal check?”
The actual checklist is very simple and the answers give us an indication of the possible stress his current lifestyle choices are placing on his body.
Warning light checklist
Answer with a yes or no
Do you sleep more than seven hours per night?
Do you exercise more than 4 days per week?
Do you drink alcohol less than 3 days per week?
Are you lean with very little excess body fat?
Do you eat on a regular basis i.e. regular meals and snacks?
Do you drink at least 2 litres of water per day?
Yes to 6 – GREEN LIGHT
Free pass to great health, keep up the fantastic work.
Yes to 4 or 5 – AMBER TURNING GREEN
Perhaps an adjustment of 1 or 2 items and his light will be turning green in no time.
Yes to 2 or 3 – AMBER LIGHT
Could be time to pop to the doctors and get a check just in case and take 1 or 2 answers and turn them into yes by simply getting to bed a little earlier a couple of nights as this will help reduce the stress hormone levels in the body.
Yes to 0 or 1 – RED LIGHT
Time for a shake-up – cuddly is not going to cut it. Time to get to the doc for a check-up and time to look at some lifestyle changes that could have huge positive effects on your lifespan.
Top small things that make for great changes
Even a little exercise can help immensely as men over 50 are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, so weight-bearing exercise is essential for maintaining healthy bones.
How often we eat can dictate how we function, how good our memory is, how good our concentration is, and how well we handle pressure, so this could be a good, easy place to start.
Drinking water is also a quick easy place to start that will give huge results in a very short space of time. Dehydration causes more stress on the body, which again is like driving your car around with the temperature gauge getting higher and higher. The car still goes, but for how long?