Iowa Specialty Hospital

Must-Know Men's Health Tips

June 14, 2024

In June, we celebrate Men’s Health Awareness, so it’s a great time to think about important steps men can take to put their health first. 

Life is busy, but that should never be an excuse for not prioritizing wellness. Compared with women, men are at an increased risk for a number of health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and more. With education, motivation, and help from your healthcare provider, you can start the habits that make for a longer, healthier life. 


Primary Care

Routine, preventative care is essential to ensuring a healthy life. Ignoring and suffering through symptoms can negatively impact work, home, and social life. Visiting with a primary care provider and scheduling annual adult wellness visits are the best ways to prevent illnesses before they occur.

At your wellness visit your provider will:

  • Review your overall physical, emotional, and social health.
  • Ensure you’re up-to-date on vaccines.
  • Check your vitals. (Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.)
  • Discuss your current diet and food choices.
  • Address any concerns you have with your health.


Make sure to be proactive by knowing your family history and sharing it with your provider. Taking action now can reduce your risk of hereditary health complications later.


Routine screenings are also important. Make sure you’re up-to-date on these important routine screenings:

  • Colonoscopy, beginning at age 45
  • Prostate screening, beginning at age 50
  • Diabetes screening


* Remember: it’s important to listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t wait for your annual check-up—discuss it with your doctor right away.


Forget Dieting, Eat Healthfully 

The foods you eat directly fuel your body.  While there isn’t one perfect diet or eating style for everybody, eating more healthful foods in a way that works best for you is better than following diet trends. 

Cutting back on junk foods, sugars, and carbohydrates makes a difference when you replace them with fruits and vegetables. Make room for healthy foods that are rich in the nutrients men need, such as:

  • Raw vegetables
  • Shellfish and fatty fish
  • Fruits such as bananas, cherries, berries, and avocados
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, and spinach
  • Brazil nuts
  • Tomato sauce
  • Yogurt


The amount of healthy fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals you need vary based on factors like sex, age, and fitness level. For more details on how to plan your healthful diet, visit with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian.


Make Time for Exercise

Getting activity in your day prolongs your overall well-being, so it’s important to prioritize physical activity.  Ideally, you should strive to make time for 30 minutes of physical activity during most days of the week; this helps increase both your physical and mental health.

Something as simple as an evening walk could be the lifestyle change you need! Just 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity walking (a little over 20 minutes a day) can help men:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and more
  • Boost your mood
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve heart health


Monitoring your progress is exciting and encouraging! There’s nothing wrong with starting slow and gradually increasing your workout time and intensity as you improve. You’ll see the most positive health changes by varying your workouts between aerobic exercise, stretching, and strength training. Incorporating all three types can improve heart health, strengthen muscles, and maintain flexibility.


Prioritize sleep

Nothing can substitute a solid, restful sleep on a consistent basis. Your mental, physical, social, and emotional health, as well as your mood, memory, problem-solving skills, appetite, and much more are tied to the quality of your sleep. Sleeping between seven and nine hours each night helps keep you in your best shape.

Can’t get that much sleep each night?  Make sure to avoid relying on caffeine.  Drinking caffeine instead of getting enough sleep leads to an unhealthy cycle that can deteriorate your health over time.  Whenever possible, give yourself time to rest and reset.


Analyze Your Mental Health 

Nearly 1 in 10 men experience depression or anxiety at some point in their lives. Your behavioral and mental health can impact your brain, often causing: 

  • Poor concentration
  • Mood changes
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty with problem-solving
  • Depression or anxiety


Often, people try to make changes in their lives on their own before seeking professional treatment.  Speaking with your healthcare provider (when it is not an emergency*) is an important first step toward improving your mental health.


Remember: if you have a family history of mental illness, alcohol abuse, or suicide, speaking to your doctor about warning signs and symptoms is essential.


Resources for mental health:

Sometimes behavioral health problems can make things seem hopeless; this can result in severe symptoms like panic attacks and suicidal thoughts. Suicide is ranked the ninth cause of death in Iowa, and it is more common in men than in women, especially for those 65 or older.


If you or someone you know is considering suicide, here are some 24/7 confidential help lines:

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 988

(En Español: 1-888-628-9454)

Your Life Iowa: 855-581-8111 (text 855-895-8398)

The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386  (LGBTQ+ Crisis and Suicide Hotline)

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255

Farm Aid Support Line: 800-Farm-Aid (327-6243)

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