by TERESA SCHIFFER
Sponsored by Central Florida Health Care
As we age, our bodies change, and so do the needs our bodies have. While this is true for everyone, there are also many differences in the way we age as individuals, depending on such factors as family history, environment, and sex. Some aspects of aging are different for men than they are for women. As June is Men’s Health Month, we spoke with Huey Metts, a nurse practitioner with Central Florida Health Care, about some of the most important things men over the age of 45 should be doing for their health.
“If a man wants to take care of his health, he needs to do three things,” Metts says. Those three things are: watch his diet, get exercise, and take all medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Metts recommends that a man eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, saying, “It doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you eat nutritiously and don’t overeat.”
Being physically active is just as important as eating right. The key is making sure you get enough exercise.
“Exercise at least three to four times a week for 30 to 40 minutes, and if you’re over 50, you should try to incorporate at least five days. Any kind of training that you do is fantastic.”
When it comes to exercise, choosing an enjoyable activity is key to continuing with it regularly.
“You should walk because it’s low-impact, or you can swim or you can ride a stationary bike,” Metts suggests.
However, it’s important that men consult their primary care physician prior to jumping into an exercise routine.
“Before you start any exercise program, you need to get a checkup – a physical as well as blood work,” he explains. “You want to know if you have high cholesterol, if you are diabetic, and if you have high blood pressure. Then you need to keep track of those tests. If you’re a diabetic, you should be seen at least three to four times a year, depending on if your diabetes is well controlled or not.”
Exercise is imperative to good health, Metts says, because you want to make sure you keep your blood pressure under 140 over 85.
“Diet and exercise will help you keep that under control. If you’re diabetic, it will help you control your diabetes. It will help you control your cholesterol, and it will definitely help control high blood pressure.”
Establishing yourself as a regular patient with your healthcare provider can help you keep up with the various tests that are advised for men older than 45. If, for example, you have a family history of colon cancer, you should be screened regularly. Ideally, you should begin having colonoscopies performed 10 years prior to the age at which your family members were affected.
If you are overweight, a cardiology workup can help detect issues before they become major problems.
Kicking tobacco is always advised. As Metts explains, “If you smoke, that’s going to increase your blood pressure. It’s going to increase the chance of you losing your feet, because as you smoke it constricts your blood vessels, and that constricts the blood going to your feet. You can go blind. You can kill your kidneys, as well as give yourself a heart attack or stroke.”
Finally, if your physician prescribes a medication to take regularly, Metts urges men to do so exactly as instructed.