June 02, 2016 Healthy Living

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: Your Guide to a Men’s Health Tune-Up

If you are like me, you have a man in your life who is … let’s call it “stubborn” about going to the doctor. It can be a spouse, partner, dad, uncle, brother, or even a close friend. You know the type – he complains about aches and pains or seemingly weird medical mysteries, but as soon as you suggest he pay a visit to the doctor – nope, forget it!

It’s not your imagination, either. Researchers in three recent studies have proven that the more “manly” a man is, the less likely he will seek medical attention. And, when he does, he will downplay his symptoms, especially if he sees a male physician.

Now you can put an end to those infuriating conversations once and for all. June is Men’s Health Month – the perfect time to help the men you know and love understand the importance of preventive exams and maintaining their bodies like they would a beloved automobile.

Getting a Tune-Up

My husband would never attempt to fix anything on his Mustang on his own, but he knows that to keep those horses running, he has to bring her in for regular maintenance checkups. When I remind him to visit the doctor for his personal tune-up, I let him know that, much like that baby of his in the garage, prevention is key. Just as he wouldn’t go thousands of extra miles without an oil change, he shouldn’t go years without having a regular physical. If you need help getting the conversation going, try some of these tips to make the most of an annual physical.

Tough Conversations Made Easy

Like women, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men. If you are concerned about your man’s heart health, this can be a tough conversation. I, admittedly, have been known to nag my husband because I know that his dad had heart disease. We painfully watched his father ignore his doctor’s orders and saw my mother-in-law struggle with trying to change his habits to no avail. I do not want history to repeat itself, but it can be hard to press the issue without sounding preachy.

One way to guide the conversation in the right direction is to present the issue in a fun way. There aren’t many people, especially my husband, who want to hear a bunch of stats and numbers – that’s a surefire way to get him to tune out. To prevent that glazed-over stare, make it a competition by challenging one another with this short men’s health quiz. Want to amp it up? Try the CDC’s Health IQ challenge. Download the app to see who is “smarter than a public health nerd.” By making it fun, you are both learning, and you can open up about topics that may be of concern.

If you have a guy who does prefer to immerse himself in facts and figures, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a comprehensive list of screenings and vaccines for men, along with loads of links to other resources.

Banish the Excuses

The American Heart Association published a list of the Top 10 Reasons Men Put Off Doctor Visits. Many of these have a familiar ring in my house, including:

  • I don’t have time.
  • There’s probably nothing wrong
  • I’d rather tough it out.

The AHA offers reasonable answers to these excuses – you can just click on the link and let them do the talking for you! It may not always be that simple (oftentimes, I have made the doctor’s appointment for my husband), but at least you can head off the excuses before they start.

Show Your Support

Studies have shown that getting healthy together not only benefits you individually, it also strengthens your relationship. What better way to connect with your favorite men than through healthy habits?

Plan daily walks: This is a great time to put your phone away and have real conversations while fitting in heart-healthy exercise. Fortunately, our region offers much in the way of nice places to take a stroll.

Cook healthy meals together: If the thought of planning and preparing your food seems daunting, sign up for a cooking class together first.

Take a fun fitness class: CDPHP® members have access to free health and wellness classes. Check some out to see what works for you.

Train together: Sign up for a 5k, charity walk, or other challenge. You can train with your partner using the free CDPHP® InMotionSM app.

Wear blue: Help bring awareness to Men’s Health Week (June 13-19, 2016) by wearing blue on Friday, June 17. Take a photo and share it on social media with the hashtag #ShowUsYourBlue.

Hopefully, these quick and easy tips and tricks will help you keep your men running in tip-top shape for years to come – just like that car they love so much!

mens health bottom photo

 

Ali Skinner
About the Author

Ali Skinner is a communications professional with nearly 20 years of media, marketing, advertising, and public relations experience. She joined CDPHP in November 2011 and currently serves as Vice President, Communications and External Affairs for one of the top health plans in New York and the nation. In this role, Ali oversees all internal and external communications, public relations, and government relations for the plan’s 400,000 members and 1,200 employees. A self-described recovering journalist, Ali spent 10 years writing and delivering news for a number of television and radio stations in the Syracuse and Albany, NY markets. Today, she uses her journalism background to help patients and the public make sense of complex health care topics.

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