Focus on Dad’s Health this June
By Amy Morgan
This month we’ll recognize our dads on Father’s Day, but June is also national Men’s Health Month. For many men, health may seem like a low priority, but taking care of yourself is the greatest gift you can give back to your family.
Samuel Simpson, M.D., Emergency Medicine Physician with Physicians Premier, shares a few tips to make this year your healthiest.
1. Make good lifestyle choices.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and make a decision to decrease or stop tobacco use. Dr. Simpson recognizes quitting can be difficult and suggests you discuss strategies with your doctor to determine the right option for you.
Get enough sleep. The CDC recommends seven or more hours a night for adults. Sleep helps your brain reset and your cells regenerate. You’ll know you’ve gotten enough rest when you wake up feeling refreshed in the morning, Dr. Simpson says.
Even simple choices like wearing your seatbelt in your car – every time – can make a difference, especially when the car ahead of you stops suddenly or an animal jumps out into the road. As an emergency physician, Dr. Simpson sees the worst of what can happen when we don’t follow recommendations. “For many of us, health is something we just take for granted until we don’t have it anymore,” he says.
2. Establish a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Maintain an appropriate weight and watch your waistline. No cheating by buckling your belt lower! Your overall waist circumference is more of a risk factor for diabetes or heart disease than BMI or body weight, Dr. Simpson says. He recommends regular exercise – 150 minutes over the week is all it takes.
Eat a diet high in lean protein, fruits and vegetables and low in saturated/trans fats and refined or added sugars. Include whole grains, nuts and seeds. Consider switching one meal a week from a hamburger to grilled fish tacos.
3. Stop mental health’s stigma.
Anxiety and depression can cause serious health problems, Dr. Simpson says, as the body and mind are interconnected. Extreme fatigue can be a sign of depression. If recharging doesn’t alleviate symptoms like low mood, anxiousness or lethargy, don’t hesitate to consult a professional.
4. See your doctor regularly.
People come in different shapes and sizes. Get a check-up to decide if your weight’s right for you and schedule screenings and bloodwork. Individuals older than 50 should get a routine physical every year, (and a colonoscopy every 10), those younger at least every three years. Issues are easier to treat when caught earlier, and you’ll have a better chance for successful recovery.
Small lifestyle changes are cumulative and can impact your health’s trajectory over the course of time. Improve your chance to be around to celebrate Father’s Day with your family for many years to come.
Physicians Premier, a free-standing emergency room located west of Highway 281 on Highway 46 near the HEB Plus, allows patients to access the care they need when they need it, saving time, money, alleviating concern and allowing for a healthier patient and community. Find them at MDpremier.com.