3 guys on a run

The foundation of good health is the same no matter what your age is! For National Men’s Health Week, VEBA is emphasizing the importance of taking care of your health, especially to those with underlying health conditions. We encourage all men and boys to take the following steps to make their health a priority not only this week, but all year long!

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

Did you know men make about two-thirds as many healthcare provider visits as women do, but are often more reluctant to share if anything is bothering them? In fact, most men don’t even realize that sometimes the physical symptoms they are experiencing, such as chronic pain or digestive problems, could be caused by a mental health issue. It is important to always talk to your healthcare provider if you notice something different about your health. If you are nervous about talking to your healthcare provider, the National Institutes of Health offers advice and tips.

Get Recommended Screenings and Preventive Care

The leading causes of death for men are heart disease, injuries, and cancer. Regular check-ups and getting preventive screenings are important to detect any problems early so that any necessary treatment is more effective. During the pandemic, fewer people have been keeping up with their routine check-ups. VEBA’s Co-Medical Director, Dr. Lee Remington-Boone, explains why it’s critical and safe to see your doctor. Talk to your doctor to find out what screenings and exams you need and when.

Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet

Nutrition is an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle. Since heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for men, it is important to choose a heart-healthy diet. By doing so, you can reduce your chance of developing atherosclerosis, which is the arterial blockage that can eventually lead to heart disease.

Here are some tips from the Men’s Health Resource Center to help you maintain a heart-healthy diet:

  • Limit saturated fat and sugar
  • Avoid any food that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (also known as “Trans Fat)
  • Limit your salt intake
  • Don’t skip breakfast
  • Read food labels
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eat out less often and have fewer packaged foods
  • Eat slowly

You can also join our weekly cooking classes or browse for healthy recipes to make at home to help you maintain a heart-healthy diet.

Get Moving and Stay Active

According to the CDC, in 2015-2018, 40.5% of men aged 20+ were considered obese. Being physically active is one of the best and most important steps for staying healthy. Everyone should be active for at least 30 minutes each day. These active 30 minutes should be in addition to normal activities of daily living.

To help you get moving, the VEBA Resource Center offers free virtual movement classes like HIIT Cardio, Strength Training, and Dance Fitness. All classes are great for all levels, so check out our class calendar and register for a class today!

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Many men know (or at least strongly suspect) that they have a mental health illness, but suffer in silence, afraid to admit they need help. This fear may be caused by being perceived as weak. Untreated mental health conditions can get worse and may have serious consequences. It is important to take care of your mental health, especially in our constantly changing environment.

With COVID-19, it is easy to get lost in the news and start to feel overwhelmed. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need a reset, we offer classes at the VEBA Resource Center to help, like “Mindfulness for Parents & Teachers” or “Midday Mindfulness Refresh.” These classes are designed to promote healing and restoration, and will help you improve your mindset in a calm, nurturing environment. View our class calendar for an upcoming class.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health help, we have put together this list of local and national resources.

Find Healthy Ways to Manage Stress

Stress is a bodily reaction to either a change or a challenge. Many mental health professionals consider stress to be one of America’s biggest health problems. Although men and women both suffer from stress, they have very different ways of coping with it. Men tend to bottle up their stress and refuse to talk about it by either trying to get away physically or by denying that there’s a problem at all. Long-term stress can lead to serious health conditions, so it is important to find healthy ways to manage stress.

Below are some videos to help with stress management:

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed, join our “Restorative Yoga for Stress Management” class on Mondays at 4:00 pm. This class will teach you how stress and anxiety presents itself in the body, mind, and emotions. Learn effective tools to help manage and reduce your stress and anxiety through yoga poses and techniques. Register here!

Practice Healthy Behaviors

About 14.9% of men aged 18 and over are in fair or poor health. It is important to remember to practice healthy behaviors to lead a healthier lifestyle. Start with small actions and daily decisions, like getting enough sleep, avoiding distracted driving, being smoke free, and monitoring your alcohol intake. If you need help overcoming obstacles and living healthier, meet with one of our Care Navigators who can help create a tailored plan for you.

It is not always easy to take the first steps toward better health, and every man will have his own approach. The key is finding what works for you. Take time to reflect on your health goals, figure out what motivates you, and determine what’s holding you back from being your healthiest you.