Body & Fitness

Men’s health 101

Warriors nutritionist Lee-Anne Wann knows all about keeping men fit and healthy. Here are her top tips for helping the men in your life look after themselves.

In her new role as ambassador for Men’s Health Trust, Warriors’ nutritionist Lee-Anne Wann shares advice on how the men in your life can look after themselves.

Q: What’s the biggest misconception about men’s health?

A: The men I know and the men I work with all have one thing in common and that is thinking ‘It won’t happen to me’. While I am all for optimism, there comes a time when we need to take responsibility for our health. We don’t always look after ourselves as well as we should and unless we take active measures to counteract this we will, at some point, somehow pay the price.

Q: What are the most important things that men should be on the lookout for?

A: The little signals that we often ignore: headaches, fatigue, foggy brain, lack of muscle tone, bloated stomach, excess body fat, inability to concentrate, being unable to sleep, irritability. These things may not mean that we need to see the doctor but they definitely need a little attention. Are you drinking enough water? Are you eating good, unprocessed foods most of the time? Are you taking time outto relax and recharge? Are you setting aside time to exercise? These are all gentle reminders to take a look at your

life and make small but positive healthy changes.

Q: Apart from with good food and exercise, what other ways can men start looking after themselves?

A: By working on the basic premise that great habits go a long way to improve vitality, energy and quality of life. Simple things like aiming for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, reducing stress where you are able – perhaps simply by taking some time out for a game of golf, a walk on the beach or just doing something for enjoyment rather than work. By challenging the brain in different ways – taking different routes to work, trying brain puzzles or reading if you are not really a reader. And simply taking time out to enjoy the life you do have; it can have profound positive effects on your health.

Q: What foods should men start introducing into their diet, if they’re not already?

A: Great options to include are natural, unprocessed proteins and fats such as chicken, beef, eggs, fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil and coconut oil. These help with managing appetite, improving hormone profiles, improving cognitive function, increasing muscle mass and aiding in recovery and repair.

Q: How often, and how intensely, should men be exercising every week?

A: Standing up from your desk [as often as you can] is beneficial for your health. And even though getting to the gym three or four times a week is excellent, it’s often not realistic for many people. So making life generally more active is a great way to start. Get out at the weekends and play some touch rugby, take the children to the beach instead of the movies, go for a walk with your partner instead of having a coffee. Adding in one or two slots a week that cause you to break a sweat is also an excellent goal for improved health, energy, vitality and wellbeing – try your hand at boxing, some sprints on a bike, some skipping – anything that you enjoy. Perhaps some speed golf is on the cards?

Q: What are the biggest obstacles to men leading healthy lives?

A: Pressure – pressure to perform, to provide, to ‘be a man’, to achieve, to take care of things, to be the person who fixes everything when it goes wrong. There’s so much focus on doing and being and achieving.

Men’s Health Month, in June this year, is an international awareness month that aims to put the spotlight on preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment. The theme for June 2016 is #MenStartTalking. Click here for more information

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