Happy Movember everyone!
For those of you who aren’t familiar, “Movember” is a recent social development, similar to the infamous “No Shave November,” where men have decided to grow a mustache during the month of November in order to raise awareness of men’s health issues. While the official national month for men’s health is June, not many are aware of this fact. It is with interesting social gimmicks like the addition of a mustache that true word-of-mouth awareness can be spread, not unlike the ALS Ice Bucket challenge of recent memory.
Since I myself have a difficult time growing any sort of facial hair, I’ve decided to express my support by giving some tips and tricks to living a healthy lifestyle for yourself or the men in your lives.
This first thing to note about “Movember” is that it is a portmanteau chock full of meaning. First and foremost, it is a play on the name of the month, November, with the “N” replaced with an “M” as a cute reference to the mustache-growing awareness activities of the month. If we look closer, however, we also see the word “Move.” Now this is something we can work with.
That should be a primary goal of “Movember.” Instead of growing a mustache, we should make a commitment to get off the couch, and get out and move. Admittedly, this may be a hard thing to commit to with the daunting obstacle of Thanksgiving flaunting all of it’s temptation our way. Nevertheless, this makes it all the more important that we commit to making the most of ourselves in order to ultimately benefit our overall health.
Some common men’s health issues, which “Movember” seeks to raise awareness of are cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, depression, as well as many types of cancer, specifically prostate cancer.
Exercise is surprisingly effective in reducing the risk of all of these health hazards. The most surprising study is the effect of exercise on those who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. In a study performed by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, they found that “a healthy diet and regular exercise can be an important step toward preventing other diseases that commonly occur with aging, including heart disease and diabetes.
Exciting new data suggest that this same approach may also slow prostate cancer growth.” (p. 2, Introduction of: http://www.pcf.org/atf/cf/%7B7c77d6a2-5859-4d60-af47-132fd0f85892%7D/NUTRITION_EXERCISE_GUIDE.PDF) Another study performed by the American Association for Cancer research found that “men with a history of brisk walking prior to a diagnosis of prostate cancer had healthier-looking, more normally shaped blood vessels in their prostate tumors after diagnosis. (http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.8968717/k.695D/Exercise_and_Prostate_Cancer8212the_evidence_stacks_up_for_benefits.htm)
It is not only critical that we both raise awareness of these issues, but take action as well. We as men can be proactive by being active to prevent problems that will complicate our lives, in some cases sooner rather than later. Beginning a regimen of proper diet and exercise provides us with both long-and-short-term benefits. As mentioned in some of my previous posts, this need not be anything too complicated, and it can be (and I would recommend it to be) fun. Going out and riding a bike by yourself or with your family, playing a game of pick-up basketball in the driveway with your children, even taking a dance class at the local YCMA are all great ways to begin exercising to benefit yourself in health and happiness. The added bonus of spending time with your family or learning a new skill is simply the cherry on top of the sundae.
It is also critical to note that if you already suffer from one of these ailments, it is recommended you consult your doctor and receive check ups regularly. While we can take actions on our own, regular doctor’s visits can provide us with a game-plan with which we can will ourselves to win against any potential physical setbacks we may fall victim to. To continue with the sport metaphor, we can act out all we can on the field as players, but good coaching can make all the difference in winning our losing, and consulting a physician can only help, not hinder, our ability to truly become victorious men in the manly month of “Movember.”
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