Easy steps we can all take to take control of our health
- The best thing that New Zealand men can do about their health is to get proactive.
- By taking preventative action you reduce the danger of major health risks including type 2 diabetes.
- Every positive change is a step towards better and longer lasting health and happiness.
#Number one step…..talk about it
- Start an open discussion about health with your friends and family. It’s easy.
- Be honest, not staunch. Your health directly affects others.
- Get an annual warrant of fitness check up with your GP. Talk things through with him or her.
Here’s the basics guys…..
- Visit a GP and know your family history
- Maybe the easiest and most effective way to take care of your health is by getting to know a GP and having a check-up once a year. Think of it as warrant of fitness for your body.
- Your GP can:
- Check for all age appropriate health risks,
- Answer any questions you may have about your health and
- Outline what steps you can take to make sure you stay healthy for the future.
- Family history is important, showing you directly the issues which have counted against your family (and your DNA) in the past.
- Monitoring your health regularly means you’re more likely to catch any health issues early and give yourself the best chance.
- Measure your blood
- Blood pressure and high cholesterol can be a key indicator for a range of illnesses, including type 2 diabetes.
- There are 40 new diabetes diagnoses in New Zealand every day and one in four New Zealanders is estimated to have pre-diabetes.
- A person’s risk of progressing from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes can be roughly halved if they lose weight, change their diet, increase exercise and/or have drug treatment.
- Get an annual heart and diabetes check by simply visiting your doctor. It’s easy.
- Get regular exercise
- The benefits of regular exercise can be huge for physical, mental and sexual health.
- Research shows that higher levels of physical activity can reduce cardiovascular disease, help fight depression, help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and improve sexual function.
- By getting into a routine that includes 30 minutes of physical exercise a day, you are well on the way to ensuring your health for the future.
- Here’s 10 very real benefits you can get from moderate regular exercise
- Who knew? Weight training drops more kilos than cardio, and stretching can actually reduce your performance…. 7 fitness myths debunked
- Healthy eating
- Eating well is important for both your mental and physical health. You need to know what foods to eat, in what quantities, and what foods to avoid.
- A balanced diet means eating a wide variety of healthy foods including plenty of vegetables, fruit and cereals (like bread, rice and pasta), some lean meat, chicken or fish, dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese) and lots of water.
- It’s a good idea to avoid fatty foods and foods with lots of sugar in them.
- It can be hard to change your diet, so the best way to do it is to try and make small changes over time, and eat healthy foods that you enjoy.
- A nutritionist can also offer you advice and support and can design a personalised nutrition and fitness programme for you.
- Healthy thinking
- Depression affects one in eight men at any time. If it hasn’t got you, it’s got someone you know well.
- The challenge is to realise when you are getting overwhelmed and knowing how to get help. Recognising the symptoms of depression can be the first step to beating it.
- Symptoms of depression include tiredness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and loss of interest in work or other activities. Other things to look out for as risk factors include family history of mental illness, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, stress, unemployment and chronic illness.
- Remember that there are services out there to help you or you can chat with your GP.
6. Stop smoking – it’s the only healthy option
- Smoking causes more deaths every year in New Zealand than road crashes, suicide, skin cancers, drowning and homicide combined.
- It is no secret that if you are a smoker, it increases your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and a range of cancers and other diseases.
- Quitting is the only healthy option. Your body has an amazing ability to recover from the effects of smoking after you quit.
- After 24 hours the carbon monoxide in your blood will have dropped dramatically and all the nicotine will have been metabolised.
- Within a year of quitting the risk of coronary heart disease is halved
- After 10-15 years of not smoking, your risk of disease will be the same as for those who have never smoked
- There are a number of services available for those who want to quit – speak to your GP or nurse, call Quitline on 0800 778 778 for help or visit the website www.quit.org.nz
Yoga- better for us than many think
What links Beauden Barrett, Novak Djokovic, Le Bron James, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Giggs and Ma’a Nonu (and many, many other sports stars)?
Each of these top line athletes understands how yoga can be used to improve sporting performance—from increasing mental concentration and improving flexibility and balance to preventing common injuries and honing skills. Being down with the dog has boundless benefits.
Yoga is becoming more and more popular among men, and for good reason. As well as helping get rid of stress and increasing flexibility, yoga can also lower the risk of heart disease, depression, and high blood pressure.
Dealing to your stress
Yoga, with its combination of meditation and breathing, helps get the mind and body in sync and can really help when you’re feeling stressed.
Men too frequently downplay the stress that they’re feeling or are under, and it’s likely one of the reasons men tend to develop heart disease at an earlier age than women.
Men often ignore signs of stress and as a result, their heart rate goes up, their blood pressure rises, their platelets get stickier. ..
As well as the physical changes brought by stress itself, there are usually some more subtle behavioural changes that accompany stress — eating less healthy, exercising less, drinking and smoking.
Taking 20 to 40 minutes out of your day to sit and be quiet, to gently stretch, and to breathe deeply is a tremendous way to reduce stress.
Why sportsmen love yoga
Yoga is one of the few physical activities that has a “de-compacting” effect on the body(swimming is another). This can counter the effects of gravity associated with activities such as running or jogging. Yoga also provides much-needed “symmetry relief” to such asymmetric endeavours as racquet sports and golf, which rotate or torque the spine in only one direction.
In sports like rugby, soccer, hockey, and basketball, athletes need to be ready for rapid, different angle stop-and-go maneuver as well as intense impact with other players. Players need three things so their bodies are stable enough to handle the game: balance, joint stability, and deep core strength.
Great balance means that the effort that would have been wasted on unnecessary flailing to stay on their feet can be used to power their game.
2. Joint Stability
This allows force to be transferred through the athlete’s body. It’s what propels them forward, gives them power on the offensive and makes them a brick wall on the defensive.
The shoulders, the lumbar spine, the knees, and the ankles are all examples of joints that need to be stable in order to transfer more power. They also happen to be joints that get injured easily due to a lack of stability.
3. Deep Core Strength
The deep core muscle meridian running from the feet all the way up to the head forms a chain which keeps athletes stable and balanced on impact while keeping the low back safe and pain free.
Ladies-only stereotype well gone
If you think yoga is for ladies only you are about as out of date as the brick Nokia cellphones. Men are regular features in most yoga classes today, and some gyms and yoga schools even offer tailored classes for men – Broga.
Similarly, another myth is that you need to be flexible to do yoga. That’s a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Sure, flexibility is a part of yoga, but you can learn this, improve this.
And you don’t need the close fitting mumble pants either – comfortable, loose clothing is all you need to start learning one of the many yoga styles that are out there.
Once weekly is enough for you to start feeling benefits, while a couple of sessions each week will have you feeling way better faster.