Why is it that everywhere I look this month, I think of my father? He passed away several years ago, and I think of him often, but these days, his presence seems to be everywhere. Then it hit me: it’s the ‘stache! My father was bald – he had been since his twenties – and, I guess as a way of making up for it, he always had a moustache. This being Movember, so does every other man on the street! The ‘staches are everywhere! Movember is a mash-up of “mustache” and “November.” The goal is to raise awareness about men’s health, particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Movember is actually a charity that aims to help improve the quality of life of men suffering from these diseases and to promote prevention and healthy living. It’s something I wish my father had access to when he was younger; maybe it could have prevented his prostate cancer.
On average, men die six years earlier than women. There are several reasons for this. They take bigger risks, which can lead to accidents or detrimental lifestyle decisions; they often have more dangerous jobs, and they avoid doctors. All of these risk factors are fixable, particularly the failure to seek medical attention, either when symptoms arise or simply for regular medical checkups. Most men don’t know this, but they should be getting themselves checked for prostate cancer by the age of 45. If detected early, there is a 98% chance of survival beyond five years. If detected late, those chances are reduced to 26%. A simple, routine blood test could save your life. Think of it as dude diligence!
There are so many ways to stay healthy, but the four most important principles of living a quality life, in my view, are:
Get some exercise: Physical activity reduces by about 50% the risk of many disorders related to inactivity, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise will increase blood flow, which supplies oxygen to your body and brain. You’ll make better decisions.
Eat the right foods: Proper nutrition is all about fuel for your body, and doing it right can save your life. Without proper nutrition, your body is more prone to disease, infection, fatigue and poor performance.
Get lots of sleep: Sleep deprivation can contribute to disease, including diabetes and cancer. It is also a major cause of auto accidents. And remember the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986? It has been linked to sleepy workers on the job.
Learn to give back: Studies have shown that volunteering makes people feel physically healthier, better manage chronic health conditions and it lowers stress levels. There are lots of ways to do it: share their knowledge and skills by mentoring someone, or simply get in touch with an old friend to see how they are.
It’s easy to live a healthy life, and it’s all within your reach. For more healthy tips on how to live life in order to live longer, please visit PSHSA’s www.healthy-worker.ca. Men’s health topics can be found in the personal section at https://www.healthy-worker.ca/personal/physical-health-and-diet.