6 healthy aging tips for men

Excerpt: Men have a higher risk of dying prematurely from chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer than women. But these conditions often can be prevented by making small, impactful changes in lifestyle. Older men can lower or manage their health risks by staying physically active, eating healthy foods, keeping a healthy weight, drinking in moderation and maintaining close relationships.

Men’s Health Week,* celebrated in Canada and internationally from June 10-16, is about empowering men to make small changes that can have a big impact on their health and quality of life.

Men are more likely to die prematurely from heart disease, cancer and diabetes complications than women,* according to the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF). This is due, in part, to lifestyle factors such as smoking, overuse of alcohol, physical inactivity and being overweight or obese, that are more prevalent among males, says CMHF.

Fortunately, chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer can often be prevented through lifestyle changes,* reports Harvard School of Public Health.

Here are some tips to help older men lower or manage health risks:

  1. Keep your heart and brain healthy
    Men are 79% more likely to die from heart disease and 57% more likely to die from diabetes,* says CMHF. Staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking reduce heart disease risks,* according to Public Health Agency of Canada. Heart-healthy habits also lower dementia risk,* says Harvard Medical School, and lower diabetes risk,* reports a Diabetologia study.

  2. Reduce prostate cancer risk
    Lower risk by eating foods low in fat, eating less processed or red meat, and choosing foods rich in lycopene, like tomatoes, and rich in selenium like beans, peas, lentils, nuts, eggs, fish, seafood, chicken and turkey,* advises Dietitians of Canada.

  3. Maintain close relationships
    The Harvard Study of Adult Development, which followed men for over 80 years, found those who maintained satisfying relationships with family, friends and community lived longer and enjoyed better physical and mental health.*

  4. Take care of your skin
    Skin diseases are more prevalent among older men than women,* reports a Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology study. To keep skin healthy, use complete sun protection, eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, avoid strong soaps, and don’t smoke,* says Mayo Clinic.

  5. Drink in moderation
    If you enjoy a glass of wine or beer, Mayo Clinic advises up to one drink a day for men older than 65.” Too much alcohol increases risk for various types of cancer and can raise blood pressure.

  6. Get regular check-ups and screenings
    Men are 80% less likely to use a regular source of healthcare,* says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. See your doctor for an annual physical exam and age-appropriate screening tests, or when you’re not feeling well.

* The following sources provided references for this blog, in order of appearance:

1. Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. “Canadian Men’s Health Week June 10-16, 2019.” online: https://menshealthfoundation.ca/menshealthweek/2018/
2. Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. “Canadian Men’s Health Foundation Background.” online: https://menshealthfoundation.ca/media-room
3. Willett, Walter, Koplan, Jeffrey, Nugent, Rachel, Dusenbury, Courtenay, Puska, Peter, Gaziano, Thomas. “Prevention of chronic disease by means of diet and lifestyle changes.” (2006), online: http://www.dcp-3.org/sites/default/files/dcp2/DCP44.pdf
4. Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. “Canadian Men’s Health Foundation Background.: online: https://menshealthfoundation.ca/media-room
5. Public Health Agency of Canada. “Heart disease in Canada.” (2017), online: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/heart-disease-canada.html
6. Harvard Health Publishing. “What’s good for your heart is good for your brain, even later in life.” (2018), online: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/whats-good-for-your-heart-is-good-for-your-brain-even-later-in-life
7. Science Daily. “Following heart health guidelines also reduces diabetes risk.” (2019), online: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190116090700.htm
8. Dietitians of Canada. “What men can do to help lower the risk of prostate cancer.” (2018), online: http://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Cancer-/What-Men-Can-Do-to-Help-Lower-The-Risk-of-Prostate.aspx
9. The Harvard Gazette. “Good genes are nice, but joy is better.” (2017), online: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-study-has-been-showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/
10. Business Standard. “Skin diseases are more common in elderly men: Study.” (2019), online: https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/skin-diseases-more-common-in-elderly-men-study-119032000362_1.html
11. Mayo Clinic. “Skin care: five tips for healthy skin.” online, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/skin-care/art-20048237
12. Mayo Clinic. “Alcohol: Weighing risks and potential benefits.” online, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/alcohol/art-20044551
13. Everyday Health. “Men and doctors: understanding the disconnect.” (2011), online: https://www.everydayhealth.com/mens-health/men-and-doctors-understanding-the-disconnect.aspx