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The 3 Things Men Should Be Doing Every Year

By Martha Michael

The 3 Things Men Should Be Doing Every Year

Memes for men speak to everyone from fantasy football fans to people who wear “old guys rule” merchandise. Social media will remind you not to miss “leg day” at the gym or joke about the latest airborne illness, but deciding what takes priority should really come from you. Most of our healthy habits require daily or weekly attention, but there’s a benefit to mapping out some annual options for where to place our time and attention.

It’s a wise idea every year to determine what you want to do for the upcoming 12 months, decide what you’d like to remove from your life, and take care of critical health checkups and screenings.

With a few simple strategies you can lengthen and improve your quality of life.

Create a Bucket List

Coming up with a list of hopeful experiences can be fun, so why not create a new one every year? They don’t have to be lifetime achievement level plans, and you can change the themes to break it up. One year you can drum up travel ideas and the next year make it local attractions.

Ideas for a sample bucket list include:

  • Build a treehouse
  • Visit a new MLB stadium
  • Try a Meetup group
  • Get the baby out of diapers
  • Bring home flowers once a month
  • See a drive-in movie
  • Learn to sell on ebay
  • Take a dance class
  • Grow a beard
  • Write your memoirs
  • Visit your old Scout master
  • Attend your high school reunion or the class before or behind you

Choose Things to Give Up

It’s a New Year’s resolution list in reverse. Every year there are at least a handful of things you can kiss goodbye and be better for it -- a bad habit or an overused punchline perhaps. It’s not that hard to identify something you feel like leaving behind, and it’s another means to stay healthy in mind and body.

Choosing TV sports over family events - Sure, watching in real time is a much better experience, but you can at least record the game and view it later. Life is too short to miss meaningful occasions. (If you don’t have a DVR or another recording device, that’s a different problem.)

Giving unsolicited advice - Many spats with your significant other stem from a person sharing their feelings with a partner who offers a solution instead of sympathizing.

Going big on entertainment - Infrequent binge-watching is one thing, but you may want to curb the number of hours you spend in front of a screen or cut down trips to Vegas.

Being flaky - Canceling dates and being a no-show is no way to win friends and influence people.

What Health-Related Things Should Men Do Every Year?

People’s health needs are as varied as their physiques. While one person may be genetically predisposed to fight cancer by age 18, another individual might sail into their senior years still rock climbing and playing pickleball.

When you know the most important core elements to men’s health, you can watch for signs of illness and plan accordingly.

Cardiac Health

An article on the website for the Centers for Disease Control confirms that heart disease is the number one cause of death for American males. It kills nearly 385,000 men -- nearly 25 percent of all male deaths. Men of all ethnicities have a heightened level of cardiac issues except American Pacific Islanders.

Nearly half of men who die of a heart attack have no previous symptoms, but there are many signs indicating a possible heart attack, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen feet, ankles, legs, and abdomen
  • Discomfort in the upper body
  • Dizziness

Being aware of the presence of symptoms is something you do year-round, but you can check in with your lifestyle choices once a year to determine how they may be affecting your chance of developing health problems.

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Being overweight
  • Physically inactive
  • Alcohol overuse
  • High blood sugar

Get Your Regular Yearly Screenings and Checkups

Among the best choices you can make healthwise is to stay on top of your scheduled screenings because they pick up developing conditions before they become harder to combat. From colon cancer to melanoma, many cancers can be detected and treated, which requires being vigilant.

It’s important to note that men’s health needs, like women’s, change over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, men aged 50 and older need an annual physical exam from their healthcare team. It’s important to follow through and not reschedule or cancel because you feel fine. It’s for the purpose of preventive care.

An annual physical includes a blood pressure check and certain cancer screenings. Some men don’t realize they can get breast cancer, though it isn’t common. Colorectal cancer screenings are typically conducted every 3-10 years depending on your family history.

Screening tests can be conducted to determine your bone density, and they may administer a blood test as well as other health screenings.

Marking Your Calendar as You Age

While most healthy routines are positive for women and men, some are geared toward males. The website for the Pasadena Health Center has a list of annual appointments men should be making to keep their health in check.

Each year you should line up an appointment for:

  • A full physical - From blood sugar to cholesterol, have a thorough examination
  • Colon cancer screening - A colorectal specialist suggests beginning colonoscopies at age 45
  • Skin analysis - See the dermatologist to have moles or other growths examined
  • Dental care - Nearly one-third of Americans fail to see the dentist each year
  • Eye exam - You don’t have to wear corrective lenses to be a good candidate for this annual exam
  • Prostate exam - Every male should be checked as a part of their physical

If you fall into a high-risk category, there may be exams you need more frequently than the average man. Men’s health is individual and when it comes to keeping tabs on everything, you’re the best one for the job.

Men may know their favorite sports teams like the back of their hand, but they often don’t know their own bodies as well as they know a batting average.

Whether it’s removing things from your life -- or adding them -- to improve your mental well-being, or adding an extra couple of trips to the doctor each year to make sure everything’s OK physically, living the best life possible takes a bit of long-term planning. Not doing so could be a big error. This is one area where you don’t want to drop the ball.

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