Men’s fitness is as popular as ever. Many men lift weights to get stronger legs, arms and chests. But did you know the most important muscle to work out and care for is the heart? This is because heart disease is a top health concern for men. The good news is a healthy lifestyle can help prevent heart disease. Heart disease can be also treated with an early diagnosis.
You can help by making men’s heart health a family issue. It’s never too late to get healthy. Encourage all the men in your life. Help them protect their hearts through healthy eating, daily exercise and getting routine check-ups. Below are some helpful tips.
Make and keep important check-ups
Men should get a check-up at least 1 time a year to check on their health. They should also have their blood pressure checked at least every 2 years. It is important to be open with the doctor and let him or her know your family history. This is because heart disease can run in the family. High blood pressure can also impact the heart. If you or a man in your life has high blood pressure, follow the doctor’s advice on how to lower and manage it.
Focus on a healthy weight
A man’s risk of heart disease increases if his waist measures more than 40 inches. Eating more heart- healthy foods and exercising daily can help you keep a healthy weight. It may be hard to get into the swing of things, but you can do it. Keep your heart healthy and ask your doctor about other healthy ways to lose weight if you need to.
Enjoy heart-healthy foods together
Heart-healthy food means lots of fruits, vegetables and foods high in fiber. It also means less salt (sodium). Start by making small changes. Bake or grill meat and vegetables instead of frying. You can also use whole grains, brown rice and sweet potatoes in place of white breads, potatoes and rice. These small changes make a big difference. It is also smart to limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can be unsafe for the heart. Limit yourself to 2 or less alcoholic drinks a day.
Move together more often
Choose activities you and the guys in your life enjoy. Go bowling, play basketball or toss a ball in a nearby park. Take a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood. Stay active and have fun. Adult men and women should get 30 minutes of exercise each day. If you get bored easily, mix it up! Three 10-minute sessions will earn the same benefits as 30 minutes at once. Being active helps you keep a healthy weight, sleep better and feel good. It helps build strength and self-esteem, and can even help prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer. Make small changes in your life to move more, like using the stairs instead of the elevator. Then talk to your doctor about choosing other exercises that are right for you.
The time is now! In as little as 24 hours after you stop smoking, you lower your risk of a heart attack. Cigarettes or smokeless tobacco like dip and chew have chemicals that can cause cancer, too. And stay away from e-cigarettes and “vapes.” These are unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and may be very unsafe. For help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Support each other
Help keep the hearts of all the men in your life as healthy as possible. This includes fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, grandsons and friends. Men’s heart health is a family affair, and it could mean longer, more fulfilling lives. Get healthy together. Get healthy now.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health; and National Center for Health Statistics.
All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model.