When men approach middle age, around age 45, health becomes a major concern. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help prevent disease and injury later in life. But where do you start? Your doctor will provide recommendations.
Here are three other ways for men to stay healthy in middle age.
1. Make Exercise and Diet a Top Priority
If you’ve never maintained a regular exercise routine, you’re not alone. But now’s a good time to start – and stick – to one. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day.
As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass and gain fat mass. Decreases in hormonal levels and cognitive decline also become a concern in the latter part of middle age. Maintaining a healthy exercise routine can help offset some of the effects of aging.
Being physically fit helps men live longer and lowers their risk of certain diseases. Exercise can help:
- Increase testosterone levels
- Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Lower the risk of some cancers
- Allow for a better quality of life
- Lower the risk of diabetes
As men age, testosterone levels naturally decline, but research suggests that exercise can help counter this decline. Some data suggests that just a modest boost in physical activity is enough to increase testosterone levels.
It’s important to maintain a healthy weight, and a balanced diet can help you achieve this. As a general rule of thumb, aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. If appropriate for your body, you can also eat five servings of whole grains each day.
Staying physically active will also help prevent obesity, heart disease, depression and osteoporosis.
While you’re making these life changes, you may want to ditch old, bad habits that are affecting your health:
- Quit smoking
- Cut back on alcohol
- Get enough sleep
2. Seek Help for Sexual Concerns
Men also face sexual concerns as they reach middle age, some of which are the result of naturally lower testosterone levels.
In middle age, impotence is common and can be successfully treated. The cause may be physical, medical or psychological. Talk to your partner, and then talk to your doctor about treatment if impotence is a concern for you.
Like men of any age, men in middle age are also at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and herpes. Up to 10% of HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S. are among people aged 50 and older. Using condoms can help lower the risk of STIs and HIV/AIDS.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Energy Level and Attitude
The changes that come with middle age can sometimes cause depression or low energy levels. It’s important for men to keep an eye on their mood and energy levels.
It’s normal to feel down once in a while, but if that feeling lasts for more than just a few days, you may be depressed. Depression occurs when you feel hopeless or down most of the time.
Depression can be related to:
- Losing interest in activities you once loved
- Feeling cranky or tired
- Eating less or more
- Having issues with decision-making
Depression is a treatable condition, and there is help out there. Talk to your doctor for help if you think you might be depressed.
One final tip: don’t skip doctor check-ups. All men in middle age should be checked for colon cancer, blood pressure and prostate cancer.