Mens Health

Top Health Tips

In this article weíll look at the changes you can make that will make the biggest impact on your health.

Top 5 Menís Health Tips

There are many ways we can improve our overall health and wellbeing, but which actions will make the biggest difference? In our article below weíll look at some lifestyle changes thatíll make the biggest difference to your health.

Look after your mental health

If youíre not feeling right inside your head, youíre not alone. One in four people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem in a year. [1] Stress is, unfortunately, a normal part of life but itís what you do when stressed that will make all the difference. But just knowing this doesnít make it easier to talk about. It can be difficult to put your feelings into words, or you may feel like you canít talk about it. The bravest thing you can do is speak up about how youíre feeling.

For more information and support, visit the mind website.

Stop smoking

Men are more likely than women to smoke, smoke more cigarettes per day and smoke hand-rolled tobacco. In England in 2018, 16.4 % of men said they smoke compared to 12.6% of women. [2] You probably already know some, if not all, of the damaging impacts that smoking has on your health. Ultimately, it can be boiled down to this: as many as 2 in every 3 smokers will die from their habit. [3]

This is because smoking causes: [4]

  • 1/3 of all cancer deaths
  • 4 out of 5 lung cancer deaths
  • 4 out of 5 deaths from bronchitis and emphysema
  • 1/4 deaths from heart disease

Stopping smoking immediately reduces your risk of all of these conditions. This is especially true if you stop smoking before you are 30.

For tips and advice for stopping smoking, check out the NHS website.

Moderate your alcohol intake

Men are more likely to drink alcohol and drink at hazardous levels. In England in 2015, 15% of men and 9% of women said they drink on five or more days a week. Among the adults who had drunk alcohol in the week prior to the survey, 52% of men drank above 4 units on at least one day, and 50% of women exceeded 3 units on at least one day. Twice as many men than women drank at an increasing risk level (27% and 13% respectively); for men this was defined as more than 14 units and under 50 units, and for women more than 14 units and under 35 units. A higher proportion of men than women also drank at higher risk levels; 4% of men drank over 50 units and 3% of women drank over 35 units in the last week. Across all age groups, men were more likely than women to drink at increasing and higher risk levels peaking at ages 55-64 for both sexes (41% and 24%). [5]

However, completely stopping all alcohol intake may not be the answer. Moderate drinkers live longer than both excessive drinkers and complete abstainers because alcohol helps to flush away bad cholesterol that clogs the arteries. Due to this, alcohol may reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 20%. [6] That being said, this is only beneficial to men over 40. Younger men canít really justify it.

The long term damage of excessive drinking will affect almost every organ in the body. Frequently drinking above safe levels can cause:

  • Weight gain
  • Heart problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Depression
  • Impotence and infertility
  • Cancer of the liver, mouth, tongue, and throat
  • Liver disease like hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • Digestive problems like ulcers, gastritis, and pancreatitis

Alcohol is also a frequent contributor to violence and accidents, including a quarter of all murders and half of all traffic deaths. Additionally, 1 in 4 male hospital admissions are related to alcohol.

You can get more information and support relating to alcohol on the Drinkaware website.

Stay active

66% of men reported they met the government recommendations for physical activity, but this participation declines with age. [7] 83% of men aged 16-24 met the recommendations for physical activity, compared with 57% of men aged 65-74. [8]

Regular physical activity boosts physical and mental wellbeing as well as helping you live longer. People who do regular physical activity have a 35% lower risk of heart disease and stroke and a 50% lower risk of diabetes and of bowel cancer. Regular exercisers also have a far lower risk of osteoarthritis and hip fracture, as well as having a 30% lower risk of depression and dementia. [9]

The NHS recommends that you get 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. This means any exercise that makes you slightly breathless, including fast walking, cycling, jogging, mowing the lawn, swimming, and playing sport. However, anything is better than nothing. Try walking. You should consider aiming for around 10,000 steps a day.

For more tips on how to get active, check out the NHS website.

Eat healthily

66% of men are overweight or obese. [10] Men are more likely than women to eat too much salt, red meat, processed meat, and not enough fruit or veg. A healthy diet has a range of benefits both long and short term.

Short term benefits include:

  • Weightloss/Staying in good shape
  • Maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails
  • Increased energy
  • Help concentration, memory, and mood
  • Supports your immune system, to help keep infections at bay and allow you to recover more quickly from illness
  • Promotes a healthy and regular bowel

Long term benefits include:

  • Reducing your risk of health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, various cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, cataracts, and osteoporosis
  • Maintaining your health and fitness as you age

For more information, check out this NHS article with 8 tips for healthy eating.

What are the benefits?

One in five men die before the age of 65. That's 20% of men who won't reach retirement age. The biggest single cause of death in men is cancer. Men have 37% higher risk of dying from cancer and a 67% higher chance of dying from cancers that affect both men and women. As well as this, 75% of premature deaths from coronary heart disease are male.

Men who have unhealthy lifestyles are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, be at risk of heart attacks, or suffer from diabetes, chronic liver disease, and cancer.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best thing you can do to prevent serious diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.