Your body is like a sports car – all the important stuff happens under the bonnet. Put in the wrong fuel, or push it too far, and it can break down. To make sure you’re at operating at peak performance, we’ve found five simple ways to improve your health. What happens to the bodywork is now up to you…
Beat heart disease
Coronary heart disease is still the biggest killer of UK men today, but there’s plenty you can do to reduce your risk. From stopping smoking to eating plenty of heart-healthy foods, a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle can make a world of difference. Did you know that getting a good night’s sleep, or even getting married could reduce your risk too?! OK, maybe getting down on one knee isn’t for you, but it’s just one of the many steps you can take to look after your ticker.
Lift your libido
Don’t panic if sex is the last thing on your mind. Sex drive can be influenced by many things including stress, depression, lifestyle, illness, events like having a baby, and your relationship. First, see your GP to rule out anything physical. Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease all affect the circulatory system and can make erections more difficult. Next, look at your lifestyle. Exercise can boost energy and circulation, while a balanced diet makes sure you’re getting enough nutrients. Talking to a psychosexual counsellor about any relationship problems may also help, while medical herbalists often recommend horny goat weed and damiana for boosting libido. And forget about the six-second rule; researchers from Ohio State University found men were more likely to think about sex twice an hour.
One in six adults are likely to experience mental health issues including depression. However, men are only half as likely to be diagnosed as women. Men are also more likely to try to cope with depression by using drugs or alcohol, which can lead to bigger problems. If you’ve been suffering from some of the following symptoms for more than two weeks for several days at a time, see your GP:
- Feeling low for most of the day
- Feeling restless or agitated
- Having no sex drive
- Avoiding social events and other activities
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Lots of negative thoughts
- Trouble sleeping
- No appetite, or eating more than usual
Talking treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy can help beat depression, while St John’s Wort is a herbal medicine traditionally used to help relieve low mood and mild anxiety.
Master the male menopause
Hot flushes and mood swings are normally associated with the female menopause but evidence shows older men can suffer a hormonal shift too. After 40, a man loses around 1 per cent of testosterone production a year, which can lead to fatigue and lower sex drive. But a true male menopause means your testosterone levels must have dropped below a certain point, and you must also suffer from a lack of an erection in the morning, low sex drive and erectile dysfunction. However, the condition is quite rare, only affecting one in 50 men. If you’re suffering from low energy, feeling tired or irritable, and lack sex drive, ask your GP to test you for low testosterone levels, but also to rule out other conditions such as depression. Male menopause is treated with testosterone replacement therapy, similar to female HRT.
Protect your skin in the sun
Slapping on some sun cream to do a bit of gardening may seem like a hassle, but it is good for your health; new figures show skin cancer rates are rising in middle-aged men faster than in any other group, largely thanks to doing outdoor activities without wearing a shirt or sunscreen. Men are also more likely than women to develop skin cancers, or melanomas, on their chest or back – places they can’t check easily themselves until melanomas become more serious. Stay safe in the sun by wearing a factor 30 sun cream. Use enough sun cream to cover your body properly and avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm. Keep an eye on your moles – or ask your other half – to look out for any unusual changes. If you want more health tips for men's health, we’ve got all your need-to-know info.
This article has been adapted from longer features appearing in Healthy, the Holland & Barrett magazine. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.