Why (and How) Should Men Prioritize Wellness More?
Throughout the ages, men have viewed themselves as tough, strong, and invincible regarding health and wellness. It may be true that you are tough and strong, but no man is invincible when it comes to men’s health and men’s wellness.
Once you look at men’s health statistics regarding physical and mental well-being, you’ll realize this is the time to focus more on your health and wellness if you want to look and feel your best – now and into the future.
Why? Let’s look at some data:
- Men were seven times more likely to commit suicide than women.
- Compared to women, men are 24% less likely to see a healthcare professional for regular check-ups.
- Men neglect their cholesterol tests more than women.
- Men are 1.5 more likely to die of cancer, respiratory disease, or heart disease.
- And men account for more than 90 percent of all workplace deaths.
Overall, men are nearly two times more likely than women to have a myocardial infarction, and men live about five years less than females.
Do men really take care of their health? How should men prioritize wellness? What health tests should men get? How can men practice self-care better?
Here are some answers to these and other important questions, as well as some great men’s health tips.
Why Do Men Neglect Their Health?
If you want to know why men neglect their health and why you need to take care of yourself, you can look at societal and cultural factors.
Historically, men have been told to be strong physically and emotionally, to be self-sufficient, and to “tough it out” whenever they felt bad or were upset about something. But, when you think about it, how often have you gone to work when you were sick or bottled up your feelings?
Admitting you feel bad physically or emotionally was in the past seen by society as a man admitting weakness. In many men’s minds, this was a quick way to lose the respect of others. Today, society’s view of masculinity is changing, and men are now encouraged to take charge of their physical, mental, and emotional health.
Conforming to society’s views of masculinity in the past and failing to recognize why prioritizing your health is important can lead to a variety of men’s health issues, such as:
- Depression and suicidal tendencies
- High cholesterol
- Erectile dysfunction
- Cardiovascular issues
- Substance abuse
If you feel pressured to conform to masculinity norms and wonder if men really take care of their health, research has shown you become more likely to experience premature death from various risky behaviors, including:
- Binge eating or drinking
- Illegal drug use
- High-risk sexual activity
- Reckless driving
- Dangerous sports activities
In essence, while trying to live up to what you believe society views as a “real” man, you are making it more likely to become one of the many negative men’s health statistics. You risk this especially if you fail to consider health neglect’s devastating impact on your well-being, career, finances, relationships, etc.
Continuing to buy into what society used to expect of you as a man can greatly impact your life. Today’s healthier view of masculinity includes visiting a doctor and making sure your mind and body get what they need to reach your full potential.
Not surprisingly, men who conform to outdated masculinity standards prefer to see male doctors. However, the irony is that once you see one, chances are you will be less willing to be honest about any problems you are experiencing.
Over the years, research has shown that men are more embarrassed to discuss their physical and mental health issues with male doctors than with female doctors, and this is a trend that continues today.
The Effects of Neglecting Men’s Health
If you’re wondering why prioritizing your health is important and why men must take care of their health, consider that failing to do so can impact you physically, mentally, spiritually, and even economically. One study showed that poor health costs men an average of $4,000 per year in potential earnings.
The statistics associated with men neglecting their health are startling:
- The Cleveland Clinic reports that surveys show over 60% of men will refuse to go to the doctor, even when they know they should.
- The Pan-American Health Organization found that 20 percent of men worldwide will fail to reach age 50 due to neglect of self-care.
If you neglect your physical, mental, and emotional health, the effects can be devastating. If you aren’t already, now is the time to ask yourself why prioritizing your health is important and what it could mean for your life?
The Impact on Your Physical Health
A prime example of the physical impact on your health as a man is cardiovascular health. Men are 24 percent less likely to visit a doctor and 22 percent less likely than women to get regular cholesterol tests. As a result, the number one killer of U.S. men is heart disease.
The Impact on Your Mental Health
Your mental and emotional health will also be negatively impacted by failing to prioritize your mental health matters and various health issues.
When discussing depression, it is important to note that the Mayo Clinic reports women are two times as likely as men to get a depression diagnosis. However, this is often because many men will be unwilling to admit their problems to family, friends, and especially their doctor, believing this will make them look weak and less masculine.
If you keep your feelings to yourself, the problem will not disappear. In fact, it will get worse. Untreated depression can lead to:
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Anger outbursts
- Domestic violence
- In extreme cases, even suicide
When daily well-being for men is not a top priority, you can expect to find yourself dealing with an array of physical, emotional, and mental issues that will ultimately become overwhelming and potentially life-threatening if not discussed with and treated by a doctor.
The Impact On Your Finances and Career Growth
You may be surprised at the impact failing to prioritize men’s health and wellness can have on your financial life and career.
While you may not be making your health and wellness a top priority, your employer is doing all it can to change this for the better.
In today’s world, more employers are offering bonuses for being tobacco-free. Companies do this because it is good for their bottom-line as it saves costs and productivity. This is why most employers offer:
- Discounts on basic health tests such as blood pressure, cholesterol, body max index, cardiovascular health, etc.
- Bonuses and discounts on health insurance premiums for employees who meet standardized health guidelines
- Discounts on annual screenings for work-related burnout, etc.
- Bonuses and discounts for gyms, wellness centers, massage, etc.
Prioritizing your mental health can also play a role in how you can advance in your career.
As you adopt healthy habits, you’ll find emphasizing men’s wellness and men’s health will have you taking fewer sick days, meaning your workplace attendance record will be good.
When it comes to promotions, employers always consider this. The CDC reports that the average employer loses about $1,700 in productivity per employee due to absenteeism related to physical and mental health issues.
A bonus to staying healthy and being able to go to work regularly is that you can usually accumulate sick leave. Thus, you can do so while still getting paid if you need to take some time off to deal with some mental health matters or physical health issues.
In other words, prioritizing your wellness will not only help you feel better in many ways, but it may also decide whether you get that promotion you’ve always wanted.
Top Strategies for Improving Your Health and Wellness
It’s never too late to start prioritizing your health and wellness, and there are many strategies that you can use. You won’t have to undergo a whole lifestyle change to get started – just follow a few easy-to-implement tips to put yourself first.
Following these tips can improve your life and keep you from winding up on the wrong side of the men’s health statistics.
What Is a Men’s Wellness Check?
A men’s wellness check is a typical exam that usually includes:
- Blood pressure screening
- Complete blood work
- Cholesterol test
- Colorectal cancer screening
- Testosterone and men’s biomarke`rs test because hormones fundamentally influence your mental, physical, and sexual performance
- Depression screening
- Testing for Type 2 diabetes if you are 40-70 and considered overweight or obese
Doctors perform most men’s wellness checks, and you may also see a nurse practitioner. Modern healthcare practitioners understand men’s reluctance to go to the clinic, so they have innovated and upgraded many wellness checks with your comfort in mind.
For instance, you can easily check your testosterone levels and five other important biomarkers for men’s health at home by pushing a button. Then, through a HIPAA-compliant telemed consultation with a qualified practitioner, you will get and understand the results. The doctor will explain them thoroughly, offering actionable information on optimizing your health and performance.
What Health Tests Should Men Get?
On top of the other health tests we’ve previously mentioned, there are more tests you will need if you want to protect your health in the long-term. These include:
- Skin cancer exam
- Prostate exam
- STDs and HIV
- Hepatitis C
- Heart disease screening, including regular electrocardiograms
- Male-specific exams: testicular, penile, prostate, and hernia check-ups
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm – usually needed if you are between ages 65-75 and have smoked tobacco
Many men put off their yearly exams for various reasons, although it’s one of the best preventative actions you can take for your well-being. The most frequent justifications are a lack of time, concern over what you will learn, and expenses.
However, because they are under a doctor’s care, men who undergo annual health exams are more likely to catch diseases in their early stages, boosting their probability of survival. As a result, they are usually in better health.
How Should You Prioritize Wellness?
It can be difficult to determine what place wellness should take in your life and how to prioritize it if you’ve never made your health a priority at all.
The good news is, when it comes to your well-being, no first step is too small. You can prioritize wellness in your life little by little as you begin to feel comfortable with your new routine.
Though you may think most men’s health tips mean you’ll be in and out of a doctor’s office, there are many health and wellness solutions you can incorporate into your daily life.
Recognize the Signs of Stress and Burnout
Men often brush off fatigue, stress, anxiety, bouts of insomnia, feeling down, or feeling restless all the time, which can make these symptoms worse. Understanding how to recognize burnout and when to seek help can help you learn how to destress and prevent burnout.
Talk to a Therapist
Speaking of seeking help, men usually don’t. In the past, there may have been a stigma against men seeking mental health treatment, but today’s men are taking charge of their mental wellness. In fact, in 2021, 12.1% of men in the U.S. received mental health counseling. This figure will likely rise in the future as more men learn about the benefits of taking care of their mental health.
If you’re experiencing mental health symptoms, put the old stigma behind you and talk to someone. With the help of a therapist, you can learn coping mechanisms for stress, how to deal better with social encounters, time management, problem-solving skills, building self-confidence, etc.
Be Mindful of Your Z’s
Avoid becoming part of the negative men’s health statistics by getting plenty of Z’s. Strive for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, maintain a regular sleep routine, and ensure your bed is comfortable.
Limit Your Caffeine, Alcohol, and Cigarette Intake
Try to limit the amount of coffee you drink. For the most part, try to have no more than four cups of coffee daily. As for smoking, quitting would be the best solution. Should we even mention lowering your alcohol intake?
Stay Hydrated at All Times
Drinking water is a great way to look good, feel good, and stay healthy. Rather than waiting until you are thirsty, carry a water bottle and have a few sips regularly. If you drink about 12-13 cups per day, you should stay properly hydrated. When you urinate, and your urine’s color is a light yellow, this is a good sign you’re on top of things.
Reduce Your Screen Time
Believe it or not, reducing screen time will be a great way to prioritize wellness. Stepping away from your computer or smartphone now and then can help you avoid unnecessary neck pain and eye strain while reducing your anxiety by not continually viewing one piece of bad news after another.
Practice Self-Care More
Check your mood regularly. While it’s common to have days when you feel down or a bit depressed, having this feeling linger for two or more weeks can indicate that you need to talk to someone about your thoughts and feelings.
In general, self-care entails attending to your:
- Body and mind (including your intellect)
- Physical needs
- Social and psychological needs
One thing to keep in mind is that you must make time for self-care if you want to engage in it. There’s a strong chance you’ll feel happier and more balanced when you make an effort to nourish every aspect of yourself.
Self-care can include any healthful activity that makes you feel good. Here are some examples:
- Engage in a skincare and haircare routine. The better you look, the better you’ll feel.
- Try meditation and mindfulness. After all, many successful people swear by them.
- Don’t neglect your hobbies. Whether you love reading books or hiking, find the time to do things that make you happy.
- Learn something new or train your brain daily. Boosting your brain power and building self-confidence will make you happier, improve your productivity, and give your life (and even career) more meaning.
- Spend more time with your loved ones.
This one is a no-brainer. Much like getting enough sleep, exercise has many positive effects. You can achieve a healthy body weight, develop toned muscles, increase your energy, boost your testosterone levels, sharpen your focus, and more.
Additionally, exercising lowers your risk of contracting serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Exercising regularly might also help lessen symptoms of depression.
Experts advise us to engage in 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise which you can combine with 75 minutes of vigorous activity.
Try Eating Healthy(er)
While nobody tries to convince you to break up forever from your favorite cheeseburger, healthy(er) eating saves lives. As you reduce your intake of unhealthy meals, make an effort to increase your intake of nutritious foods. Vegetables and fruits are crucial components of a balanced diet, and it doesn’t have to be only salads all the time. Moderation is the keyword when it comes to junk food.
You Are Not Alone. Take Better Care of Your Health.
One of the easiest ways to optimize your health and well-being is to work with healthcare professionals and wellness businesses you are comfortable with and trust. This includes finding a doctor with whom you can be completely honest, wellness providers (online and offline) who offer a non-judgmental atmosphere, and well-trained professionals who can give you excellent men’s health tips and advice.
Are You Ready to Prioritize Your Health?
Now that you’ve got some answers as to what is a men’s wellness check, how men can practice self-care better, how men should prioritize wellness, and why is prioritizing your health important, put your health and wellness at the top of your to-do list.
Be honest with yourself about the difference prioritizing men’s health and wellness can make in your life, because you are worth the effort. By doing so, you’ll live longer, feel better, and enjoy each day more than you ever imagined.