When I think about the importance of my health and wellness as a man, I often think about the airline safety briefing: “you should secure your oxygen mask before attending to anyone in your care.” This speaks to securing yourself so that you are able to secure the ones you’re responsible for. As a man, a father, a son, I have responsibilities for the members of my family, and as a healthcare provider, I have responsibilities to my patients and the community I serve. I am best able to fulfil these responsibilities when I am in a good state of physical, mental and emotional well-being. My dedication to my health and wellness is ultimately a focus on ensuring I am able to deliver on these great responsibilities, while at the same time delivering the personal bonus of keeping me looking good and feeling great.
My advice to men is to START NOW!
Use the recent increases in flour prices as incentive to reduce your flour intake. Consider smart substitutions, such as replacing some rice in your diet with potatoes, switching out soda for water. Go for a walk on a Saturday or Sunday evening with the family. Drink one less beer this week. Take small steps towards adjusting your lifestyle. The small steps will add up in time to significant changes.
Be that positive lifestyle example for your family!
Marketing and Communications Consultant
A couple Sundays ago was Father’s Day and it was a simple reminder to me why it is important for men to stay healthy. It’s all about the kids. Whether you’re a dad, an uncle, a stepdad or older brother the little ones rely on us for love, food, shelter, security, education and everything else in between. However, it is statistically shown that women live longer than men, so we have to fight that much harder to stick around for them. But long life isn’t the end goal alone, it is the quality of life that we should be chasing. We want to have a rich, active and fulfilling life while we are here. Hard to do if you are restricted by lifestyle ailments. This is why when my wife got pregnant with our first child 13 years ago I made a conscious decision to improve my health.
The journey to better health is not easy but you just have to take it one step at a time.
This idea of taking it one step at a time, I seemed to have taken it a bit too literally when I discovered a love of running in 2016. Once it was named race I was there. Once there was a run session I was there. The running life was great and then COVID-19 and its various lockdown protocols came into effect. It was during this period I realised that running not only positively affected my physical well-being but my mental health as well. It was a tough time with no outdoor activity in place so there was a lot of jump rope and burpees happening in my living room. However, nothing can replace the open road, fresh air and the rhythm of your foot strikes with your heart beating out of your chest. But don’t take my word for it, ask my son. When the restrictions were lifted, he started training, road running and racing with me and the best part is that he is loving it.
Passing this active lifestyle legacy onto him makes it all worthwhile!
President of the Optician’s Association of Trinidad & Tobago
Recently, there has been the topic of “Self-Care” trending. Self-Care is basically the act of taking time to focus on yourself. The World Health Organization defines it as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness or disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
As men, do we do this? Or do we often find ourselves focusing on everything and everyone else other than our own self-care? The rigors and stresses that we put our bodies through daily will eventually take a toll on us. It is imperative that we take a few minutes per day to at least de-stress otherwise it could have long term negative effects on our mental and physical health.
As we get older our bodies go through changes, and some of us are more prone (genetically) to certain non-communicable diseases. Diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure can have adverse effects on the health of the eyes, as well as cataracts and glaucoma which can also reduce your vision.
As a Dispensing Optician, we often advise patients to have their eyes tested at least every 1 to 2 years. Regular checkups can diagnose any issues that may arise. Visit your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist to have a comprehensive eye examination (refraction) or a dilated fundus examination to ascertain the health of your eyes. The earlier, the better!
As men, let’s all make a greater effort to take care of ourselves.
What better time to start than now?
Emergency Medicine Registrar
Sangre Grande Hospital
Too often I have heard from male patients “Doc, I feel great. I haven’t been sick or seen a doctor in years and I don’t think I need to” in spite of receiving a diagnosis of hypertension or diabetes.
In a recent Harvard Health article, it is revealed that men are getting sick earlier and are dying earlier compared to other members of society. Society cultivates an attitude that men are the stronger sex and therefore don’t need doctors or regular checkups. Their own perception of physical strength and masculinity gives a false sense of security. Though in modern times the roles between men and women may be changing, much of our mindset regarding men’s health remains the same.
Many of these outcomes can be avoided by a change in mindset that going for a health checkup is a sign of weakness for a man. On the contrary, regular doctor visits should signify health, wellness and virility for men. Just as vehicles and machines need regular maintenance and would break down without it, our human machinery requires maintenance. To put this into more “manly” terms: “Regular diagnostic checks at timely intervals with appropriate corrective actions would ensure optimum reliable performance and longevity within or beyond defined specifications.”
As a doctor, I have seen too many men come in with illnesses that could have been prevented by taking care of their bodies. I’ve seen a 37-year-old man die from a heart attack in my emergency room. Bodies wracked by preventable cancers from years of smoking, hearts that are failing and can no longer pump blood, limbs that are rotting and festering from gangrene and need to be amputated because of neglected blood sugar. I’ve seen wives, sisters, brothers, children all coming into the emergency room and weeping over their deceased father’s body because of largely preventable diseases.
As men, we need to do better, and we need to start now to ensure that we are well enough to find fulfillment in our jobs, our hobbies and our families.
The promises and pleasures of life and all it has to offer is something we all deserve to experience. That is why the health and wellness of men is so important.