Body & Fitness

Men’s health – tips and advice

Tips to help the men in your life live longer and healthier.
Men's health tips and advice to help the men in your life live longer and healthier

Men often need a bit of feminine encouragement to pay attention to their health. This Father’s Day, suggest your dad – or the father of your children – tries some of these measures.

**Look in the mirror

**Men tend not to spend much time eyeing up their reflection, but they should on a regular basis, says Dr Graeme Washer, spokesman for the Men’s Health Trust New Zealand. They should be keeping an eye out for red or brown spots and notice if they change, as it could be an indication of skin cancer. Other things to look out for include posture – keeping your back straight is good for joints and bones. “What about that stomach – can you still see below your navel?” says Graeme. “Central fat is bad for men and carries important health implications. The upper acceptable limit is a waist circumference of 102cm.”

Don’t super size

Have a large breakfast, containing protein, a medium-sized lunch and a small dinner. “Fat and protein are not the enemy of weight control – too many refined carbohydrates are,” says Graeme. Avoid starchy or sugary foods and soft drinks and beer, especially later in the day when your energy output is lower. “Some protein with each meal helps you to feel full and slows the absorption of calories.”

Think of your heart as your engine

“Exercise doesn’t have to be hard out, but needs to be frequent,” says Graeme. “Even 10 to 15 minutes of vigorous walking at lunchtime or before or after work is a good start. “Men should think about how their heart runs – does it sometimes speed up or miss beats? Do they get discomfort or pain across the chest, especially when exercising or when stressed? If so, you need to get it checked without delay.”

**Look after those people important to you

**Take time to do something caring for your partner and nurture your relationship. Men who do this live longer and happier lives. “Work at keeping in good contact with one or two close mates and learn to really talk to them about important stuff (not just the rugby!) affecting your life,” says Graeme. “Doing this with a true mate shows them how much you value their friendship.”

See the coach

If you are over 40, you need to develop a relationship with your doctor, advises Graeme. “A check-up is simple and is an opportunity to learn about the right things to do and the things that deserve monitoring. “The more you learn about health, the better you can take care of yourself – for your sake

and the people who love you.” The Men’s Health Trust New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to change the way Kiwi men think about their health. Visit you.org.nz

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