Two hands mixing a salad of green vegetables and peppers with utensils

Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Them

When I became a father 16 years ago, I could never imagine how I would relish in my daughter’s smile and how she would warm my heart every day.

She’s a true inspiration. She gives me purpose in my life and inspires me to be a better person. Whether you’re a dad or male role model, you understand how special and rewarding this role can be. Sure, it has its challenges and may not always be as easy as we make it look, but it’s the simple, every day moments you share with your children that leave the biggest impact on your life and theirs.

June is Men’s Health Month, so now is the time to take control of your health. I continually hear from friends how so many men at younger ages are falling ill with chronic illness and disease. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, just to name a few. Think about the value that your life adds to your family. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dad or not, you bring a special value to those who care about you.

Let’s face it, guys, we are not the kind to go to the doctor. “Oh, it’s probably nothing,” is not the answer. It could be more serious than you think. I urge you to make a commitment to your family that you will take care of yourself so that you can take care of them for many years to come.

Here are some tips to get you on the road to being healthy:

Diet: With so many diets and trends out there, how do you know if you are eating healthy? It’s simpler than you think! Add in more fruits and veggies to your diet. Replace heavy fatty proteins with leaner choices. Hydrate with plenty of water throughout the day, cut down your portion sizes, and by all means, eliminate some of those processed foods, sugars, and refined grains.

Move: Even a short 10–15 minute walk a day can help you build your endurance and reduce your risk of diabetes, having a heart attack or dying from heart disease. Put one foot in front of the other, and go a bit further each day.

Get checked: If you are age 50 or older, get screened for colorectal cancer. Of the various cancer screenings available to men, this one is of the best. It can prevent, not just diagnose.

Know your blood pressure: If you don’t know numbers, get to! And do whatever you have to do to keep it in a healthy range. High blood pressure can cause damage in the arteries, heart, kidneys, eyes, and brain. Exercising more will have an immediate effect on lowering your blood pressure.

Cut back on sodium: Cut back on eating fast foods, processed meats, canned and other prepared items. Add in high potassium foods, like: raisins, bananas, tomatoes, and spinach. Higher consumption of potassium could lower your risk of heart disease.

Don’t ignore the warning signs: If you experience unusual pain, aches, or other possible warning signs, don’t brush it off. If it seems abnormal, it probably is.
There are too many warning signs to list here, but the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and the American Diabetes Association are great places to start.

This month, give yourself and your family the gift of good health. And keep it going throughout the year. I know I will.

By: Gary Appelsies, MS, CHHC, AADP
Director of Healthy Eating