Don’t Wait – Develop Healthier Habits
Taking charge of your own good health is important at any age – and it’s never too late to start developing healthier habits. Like women, men need to have regular visits with the doctor, take steps to manage stress, make nutritious food choices, and engage in physical activity. Here are a few tips to help develop healthier habits:
- Have regular checkups.
If you put off a check-up or screening during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Many Americans delayed preventive care in 2020. However, preventive care may be more important than ever right now.
Preventive care keeps minor health issues from becoming major problems. Your doctor can help monitor your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. In addition, they can recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments to help get your weight, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol under control. What’s more, the healthier you are, the better prepared you’ll be to battle COVID-19 or any other health crisis that comes your way.
Age-appropriate preventive care services are covered 100% if you visit an in-network provider. These include defined screenings, well visits, and immunizations.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease. It can also help you improve and maintain your overall physical and mental well health.
Ideally, you should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, every week. However, if you’re having difficulty squeezing in a workout, remember that even a brisk 20-minute walk a few times a week can provide heart healthy and stress-relieving benefits.
- Stop smoking.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Smoking and secondhand smoke exposure can cause health conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and heart disease. They also raise your risk of developing many types of cancer. Ask your doctor to help develop a plan of action to quit.
- Maintain a healthy waist
Did you know an unhealthy waistline could raise your risk of obesity-related diseases? For example, men with large waists are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The best way to shed excess belly fat is to cut calories from your diet and exercise more. Ask your doctor to help you develop a weight-loss plan that’s safe and effective for you.
- Ask your doctor about cancer screenings.
Based on your age, family history, and lifestyle, your doctor may recommend that you undergo screenings for colon cancer, prostate cancer, or lung cancer.
- Take a break.
If anything, the last year has taught us not to take anything for granted. Give yourself permission to take a break. Play a round of golf, watch TV with your family, or go for a walk. These aren’t just fun ideas – they’re best practices that help you decompress.
Colorectal Cancer Awareness
This year, more than 145,600 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 51,000 will die of the disease.
If you are age 45 to 75, get tested regularly for colorectal cancer. A special test (called a screening test) can help prevent colorectal cancer or find it early, when it may be easier to treat.
You may need to get tested before age 45 if colorectal cancer runs in your family. Talk with your doctor and ask about your risk for colorectal cancer.
What Do I Ask the Doctor?
Visiting the doctor can be stressful. It helps to have questions written down ahead of time. You may also want to ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes. Print out these questions and take them to your appointment.
- What is my risk for colorectal cancer?
- When do you recommend that I start getting tested?
- What are the different types of screening tests for colorectal cancer?
- Which screening test do you recommend for me? Why?
- How often do I need to get tested?
- What happens during the test? How do I prepare?
- Does the test have any risks or side effects?
- How long will it take to get the results?
- What can I do to reduce my risk of colorectal cancer?
How Do I Decide Which Test to Take?
There are different ways to test for colorectal cancer. Your doctor can help you decide which test you would prefer.
Before you talk with your doctor about which test to get, it can be helpful to think about your values and preferences. Answer these questions to find out which test you would prefer – then share the results with your doctor.
Together, you and your doctor can make a screening plan that’s right for you.