From working a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job five days a week, to spending quality time with family, to managing some sort of social life with close friends, it is easy to let health take the back seat, miss a doctor’s appointment, forget to schedule that annual exam, or not bother to call the doctor when the body feels out of sorts. While the importance of taking charge of your health should take the front seat, do not fret – we are granting you a “get out of jail free” card and offering these top health tips for men and women!
The Top Health Tips for Men and Women
Balance Your Diet
No matter the age or gender, consuming a balanced diet is a healthy tip for men and women across the lifespan. Balance the diet by incorporating more whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean and plant-based proteins, and healthy fat sources and moderating products high in trans and saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.
Drink More Water
Water is essential for supporting overall health and life, with general recommendations for daily water intake suggesting at least 64-ounces a day or eight 8-ounce cups. Additionally, the adequate intake (AI) for men is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluid each day and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. Drink more water by utilizing and filling large cups, using flavor enhances, keeping it conveniently on hand, and drinking and ordering water over sugary soft drinks.
Pair a balanced diet with an active lifestyle, including 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and at least two to three weight training sessions each week. Running, hiking, biking, and playing team sports are just a few examples of how you can dismiss a sedentary lifestyle and get active! But before starting any sort of exercise regimen, always verify with your primary care provider and start small and work up to work up to the recommendations as needed.
Catch the Zzz’s
The importance of catching those nightly Zzz’s should not slept on, as going without it can negatively impact overall health. In fact, inadequate sleep has been linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes risk, heart disease, memory issues, and car accidents and injury. Though there are age-specific sleep duration recommendations, adult men and women are generally encouraged to sleep between seven to nine hours on a nightly basis.
While some stress can keep you stimulated and motivated, too much of it can reap havoc on overall health, including increasing the risk of weight gain, depression, anxiety, and heart disease. Reduce such risks and manage stress with stress-reduction strategies, such as practicing yoga, walking, dancing, and listening to music.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Weight maintenance is one of the most important health tips for men and women, as being overweight can put you at risk for many chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Whereas the identified health tips above can promote weight maintenance, consult with a doctor or Registered Dietitian to create an individualize plan to meet personal needs and goals.
Keep Up with Regular Check-Ups and Screenings
Review with your primary care doctor lifestyle habits annually, including the discussion of diet, exercise, substance abuse, and sexual history and contraceptive use. According to the CDC, everyone between ages 13 and 65 should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases at least once in their lifetime, along with if or when changing sexual partners. Eye exams should be done at least once every two years, although annual exams are a good idea for anyone with vision problems. And unless instructed differently by your dentist and dental hygienist, dental exams should be completed twice a year for teeth cleaning and other preventative maintenance. Complete blood pressure screenings bi-annually or more often if a personal or family history of heart disease and stay in the know of type 2 diabetes risk factors. Though often recommended at age 50, talk with your doctor regarding the initiation and frequency of colon cancer screenings, including colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and stool tests.
Stay On Top of Shot Records
Gender-neutral shots and vaccinations include the flu shot each year, a tetanus booster every 10 years, and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine if under age 21. Nonetheless, always talk to your doctor about which shots are recommended and how often they may need administered.
Health Tips for Men Based On Age 20s and 30s
Men are encouraged to build muscle in their 20s as this is the prime time in which males’ muscle-building hormones are at their peak. Men falling in this age bracket should also get a brief physical every two to three years and have cholesterol tested every three to five years starting at age 35. But if you have high blood pressure, a family history of heart disease, or other cardiac risk factors, have a blood test for cholesterol as early as age 25.
40s and 50s
Continue with the screenings and exams encouraged during the years of 20s and 30s, along with starting to endure checks regarding colon cancer at age 50. Although regular prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests, used to detect prostate cancer, may not be necessary, talk with your doctor at 50 or earlier regarding any concerns or risks.
60s and Over
Added health considerations and recommendations during this age include an ultrasound for an abdominal aortic aneurysm if ever smoked, along with shingles and pneumococcal vaccines starting at ages 60 and 65, respectively. Colon cancer screenings are generally stopped at age 75.
Health Tips for Women
Whereas women should participate in common and regular screenings as men, recommendations that tailor to their gender-specific needs that include:
Pregnancy and Lactation
The importance of healthy lifestyle choices cannot be stressed enough during and after pregnancy, including good nutrition practices to maximize the growth and development of baby, promote a safe delivery, and ensure sufficient a milk supply for lactating. Find more tips for a healthy pregnancy here.
Mammograms and Breast Self-Exams
Breast cancer is one of the most common and deadliest women’s disease and according to breastcancer.org, approximately 12 percent of U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. To catch breast cancer early in its course, the American Cancer Society suggests women should have their first annual mammogram at age 40. But if you have a family history of breast cancer, start tests 10 years earlier than the age of your relative at the time of her diagnoses. At age 75, talk with your doctor about whether you should continue having regular mammograms. You can also detect breast cancer earlier by completing a breast-self-exam at least once a month.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, Pap smear general guidelines detail if between ages 21 and 29, get a Pap test every three years; if between ages 30 and 64, get a Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test together every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years; if 65 or older, ask your doctor if you can stop having Pap tests; and talk with your doctor about the frequency of them as needed. In combination with a Pap smear, women should have a pelvic exam completed, which involves the doctor feeling around the uterus and ovaries to check for fibroids, cysts or any type of pain.
Bone Density Exams
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, being female increases the risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones. Of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, approximately 80 percent of that portion are women. Women who have reached menopause are also at an increased risk of osteoporosis related to estrogen loss, a hormone that protects bones. That being said, women aged 65 and older should have a bone density and be screened again every two to three years. Also talk with your doctor regarding earlier screenings if you have certain risk factors, such as a family history, early or surgical menopause, recurrence of bone fractures, low body weight, smoking history, or thyroid condition.