I am very interested in health and longevity and thought I would put together a list of 5 very different things men can do to stay strong, sharp and social. You always hear the usual stuff, eat a balanced diet, regular exercise, good sleep etc, but let's dive a little deeper; (1) Combat Loneliness, (2) Kegels, (3) Eyesight, (4) Knee Strength, (5) Brain Health.
Prioritising health not only enhances the quality of life but also prevents numerous diseases and conditions. Let's get started:
1. Combat Loneliness: Friendship
Loneliness is an epidemic among men. Cultivating and maintaining friendships has been proven in many studies to improve and maintain both mental and emotional health. Regular social interaction reduces stress, improves mood, and enhances overall well-being.
I am the worst at this. Year after year I realise how much of a bad friend I am, and it needs to change. Being social is such a vital human-need - therefore we are knowingly damaging and shortening our life when we choose to neglect it.
Whether it's joining a club, volunteering, connection through faith, or simply scheduling regular meet-ups with friends, building a strong social network is a crucial aspect of health. Find a likeminded group of men or just go out and talk to strangers. Remember:
Who you spend time with influences the person you eventually become. Who you are with can elevate you as much as it can bring you down. - personalexcellence.com
This is hot off the press, but here's an interesting podcast on Why everyone's social skills are getting worse. An interesting watch/ listen:
2. Kegel Exercises: Not Just for Women
When it comes to pelvic health, Kegel exercises are a game-changer. Often associated with women, these exercises are equally beneficial for men, especially for those experiencing prostate issues.
Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, supporting bladder and bowel function. Implementing a routine of these simple, discreet exercises can significantly improve pelvic health and sexual function.
There's a couple of apps and plenty of YouTube videos to get you started with this.
3. Eyesight: The Window to the World
Eyesight often deteriorates subtly, making regular check-ups essential. But it's not just about visiting the optometrist; it's about daily habits.
Start looking up from your screens throughout the day. One way is with the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds). Set an alarm if you need to - your eyes will thank you for it!
Embrace outdoor activities that encourage distant focusing, like hiking or bird-watching, to naturally exercise your eyes. I remember years ago being at the top of the Calgary Tower. I was fixated at the top as my eyes had never looked so far away. It was a wild experience that I crave even to this day.
4. Knee Strength: Going Beyond the Toes
Our knees are pivotal in our mobility, yet they're often neglected until pain arises. I have many male members of my family with HUGE knee issues that could quite easily have been avoided.
The 'knees over toes' approach is a proactive method to strengthen weak muscles, tendons, and ligaments all around the knee. Incorporating exercises like squats and lunges, where the knee extends over the toe, can improve flexibility and strength, preventing knee problems before they start.
Checkout this video for a no BS guide on where to start. Don't wait for them to get bad before you start any of these protocols - we proactive with your health no matter how old you are. Remember, build on these exercises SLOWLY (it could be years before you get to the 'gold standard from Ben'). Your body will thank you!
As we age, balance becomes increasingly important. Falls are the leading cause of injury for adults ages 65 years and older. Incorporating balance exercises into your routine, such as yoga or tai chi, can significantly reduce the risk of falls, ensuring a safer, more independent life as you age. If you don't have time for that, just balance on one leg while you brush your teeth!
5. Brain Health: Keep the Wheels Turning
Mental health is as crucial as physical health.
Read that again.
Keeping your brain active is key to avoiding cognitive degeneration. Engage in activities that challenge your mind, such as puzzles, learning a new language, or even playing a musical instrument.
Mental stimulation keeps your brain sharp, fending off conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Implementing these health promotion tips can make a significant difference in the quality and longevity of your life. From eyesight to friendships, each aspect plays a crucial role in maintaining your health.
Remember, taking small steps today can lead to a healthier, happier tomorrow. Stay proactive, stay healthy!
Thanks for reading.