Men’s Health Week 2022. Time for your MOT!

June 1, 2022

June sees the issue of men’s health hitting the headlines. Men’s Health Month originated in the US and has become a global focus with associations in countries all over the world. In the UK  Men’s Health Week is held in the run up to Father’s Day each year but is aimed at getting the health care message across to men of all ages, from young boys through to the over 65s.

This year it will be from the 12th to the 17th of June 2022, with the theme of giving yourself a health and wellness MOT. Just about everyone has been affected by the events of the past couple of years with COVID-19 and all that came with it. As we head out of the pandemic and hopefully return to some sort of normal, Men’s Health Week aims to encourage everyone to take a little time and give themselves a thorough check of both their physical and mental health.

Men’s health is often neglected, June is great time to give yourself a health MOT.

It can be hard to set aside time for ourselves especially if we are also looking after others. However, taking a small amount of time to check that you are as well as you can be and make yourself aware of changes that could improve your health, are always worth it. Think about it, it is hard to look after others, if you are not well yourself.

When it comes to gender differences, there will be some health issues that affect men more than women and vice versa, but many affect all of us. Why not use the time to get your friends and family to all give themselves a quick MOT and support each other through positive changes that you can make.

Every day we hear more about eating the right foods and it is often conflicting advice too! Simple guidelines are the easiest to follow and can make a big difference. How many of these can you manage every day?

  • Keep hydrated – aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day
  • Fresh fruit and veg – aim to eat at least five, but ideally 10, servings of fruit and veg every day
  • Fresh air – try to get outside in the fresh air for at least 30 minutes every day
  • Digital down time – don’t be afraid to put your phone away, turn off the tv and switch off the computer for at least an hour before bed.
  • Exercise – try to exercise for around 30 minutes, three times a week. It doesn’t have to be the gym, it can be a brisk walk or a dance class too!
  • Get a good night’s sleep – most of us feel far better for 7-8 hours good quality sleep. We are not all the same, find what works for you and if that is 9 hours, then make it happen.

Keeping hydrated and eating a balanced diet may sound too simple, but would you put the wrong fuel in your car and expect it to still run? Not at all. Your body is the same, you need to put the right fuel in, to get the best out of it.

Simple changes can make a big difference. Good food, adequate hydration and a good night’s sleep can be positive changes.

Experiment and try something new, the internet is a great source of culinary inspiration whatever your level of skill. Meals don’t have to be complicated, but it is easy to get stuck in a rut of the same thing every week. Challenge yourself to try one new recipe a week and build up your repertoire of healthy recipes.

If you don’t like water, infuse it with slices of fresh fruit and give yourself something a bit different to drink. Try herbal teas instead of black tea and coffee. There are so many to choose from that you are likely to find a new flavour that you enjoy.

Switch up your breakfast options, instead of the fry up or sugar laden cereal, opt for oats as porridge, baked oats or get breakfast ready the night before with Overnight Oats. Imagine waking up to a a ready to go healthy breakfast with oats, fresh fruits, add in nut butters and a swirl of honey for a energy packed start to the day.

Oats are a source of fibres that have been shown to help reduce and maintain a healthy cholesterol level too. They are cheap, easy to find and can make a perfect start to your day.

Research suggests that men report taking part in more exercise than women, but further research suggests that the levels of actual physical activity may be far lower for men and women than actually self-reported.  Maybe we are not as honest with our answers as we should be!

Regular exercise is important, but make sure you fuel your body for the exercise you are doing and support your recovery too. Protein supplements and powders can be helpful as well as electrolyte drinks to keep you hydrated and supply important minerals.

Stress and anxiety can have a major impact on our overall health and it is still often a taboo subject to talk about male mental health. Thankfully there are a lot of people working at breaking these taboos and doing much to support male mental health issues. Check out CALM and MIND for plenty of resources and guides.

Mental health is as important as physical health. Make sure you seek help and advice if you feel you are struggling to cope.

Supplements can play a role too and can be a helpful addition to your wellness regime. Supplements are not intended to replace your healthy diet, so getting your diet as healthy as possible, is the first place to start. However, if you are placing extra demands on your body such as tackling a new exercise routine, experiencing stress or anxiety or simply want to keep your immune system in good health, then supplements can play a positive role.

If you are increasing your exercise levels, you can consider adding protein powders to your smoothies and post workout drinks. These give you the building blocks to help muscle repair and muscle growth.

For many people, daily stresses and worries can have a significant impact on their lives It is always important to talk to someone, whether it is your GP or a support group, if you feel at risk to yourself or others.  You may also find that adding the right supplements can make a difference to how your body deals with the ups and downs.

The B complex vitamins are needed for normal functioning of the nervous system and play a role in helping to prevent tiredness. They are water soluble are not stored by the body and need to be replaced daily. Taking a B complex supplement is idea when you are feeling the pressure or taking part in a lot of exercise.

We hear so much about gut health these days and the important role it plays in keeping us well. It isn’t just about digestion, a healthy gut microbiome plays a role in immune health and possibly even our moods. Look out for fermented foods such as kefir and fermented vegetables and also take a friendly bacteria supplement.

If you are training more and experiencing muscle soreness, think about taking a magnesium supplement. This mineral magnesium is important for muscle health and also helps the muscles relax.

Other minerals such as zinc are also important for male health, especially relating to fertility and healthy call division. So if you and your partner are planning a pregnancy, it can be an important addition to your regime.

If your diet is generally balanced and has a variety of different food groups, you might want to consider a multivitamin and mineral supplement as an overall foundation to your regime. These can be a great way of ensuring you are receiving a wide spectrum of nutrients.

Whatever you plan, make it accessible and achievable. Small goals can be better than one big one, it is so rewarding to tick off the list as you head towards a bigger goal rather than just one so far ahead it is seems out of reach.

Little goals can lead to big successes. Make your targets attainable and celebrate your wins.

This month, give yourself time to have the MOT and make some positive changes to your healthy and wellbeing.

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