Remember your 40s? I certainly do, and although I’m approaching the middle of my fifth decade, I’m feeling just as good as I did a decade ago. I credit this well-being with recognizing I needed to make some lifestyle adjustments as I became more chronologically established in middle age. So here are 11 things I’m doing for my health in my 50s that I wasn’t doing in my 40s…and why. Read More
Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best things you can do for your body. The special microorganisms that we call beneficial bacteria dwell in your gut (intestinal tract) where they help maintain a healthful, balanced environment that is critical for overall health.
Although you can get probiotics from fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchee—and you should enjoy these foods–many men find that taking a high-quality probiotic supplement makes the most sense.
Now, I usually recommend whole foods for better health. So why in this case do I recommend a supplement? Read More
I’ve talked about BPA before, a chemical found mainly in plastics that poses a big threat to your hormones and therefore your masculinity. Recently, information has surfaced about another group of chemicals—also found in plastics and personal health care products, among other places—that may be even worse than BPA and can massively affect your health.
“Phthalates” are even more of an insult to your system than they are to my spell- checker. They belong to the same class of pollutants as BPA, called “endocrine disrupting chemicals” (EDCs). And although phthalates have been studied extensively (and declared “safe,” predictably, by interested parties), the true extent of the dangers they present is only now coming to light. Read More
There’s a good chance you’ve been with your general practitioner for a few years. You go in a couple of times a year (hopefully no more often than that), you chat about your respective families and the state of your career, he (or she) listens, pokes, prods, palpates, and possibly prescribes. And you listen and do your best to follow instructions. Your GP is a health care professional, and there’s a degree hanging on the wall decreeing as much. So he or she must know what it takes to be healthy.
In an ideal world, the answer would be yes. But this world isn’t ideal—especially when it comes to health care.
Doctors need to prescribe behavior not pills
Most doctors aren’t in the health care business. They don’t prescribe behaviors to make us healthy. They prescribe pills and surgeries and treatments to make us un-sick. Most doctors I know only rarely mention diet or exercise or stress-relief techniques to their patients, in part because they don’t believe that their patients are willing or able to follow through with such a program. Rightly or wrongly, health care consumers have come to expect quick-fix solutions from our doctors that require little to no action on our part—except maybe to take a pill or show up for a procedure. The implied agreement between you and your doctor is that you will show up sick and he or she will give you something to make you well.
In some circles, this is changing. Doctors are literally prescribing exercise—writing “Aerobic exercise 3x/week 20 minutes/day” on their prescription pads and handing it to their patients, knowing that, to a completely sedentary person, almost no single behavior can be as beneficial to a person’s health as exercise is. Bravo to them.
Many doctors aren’t in a position to give health advice
Too many others, however, are too embarrassed or resigned to bring it up, and instead they offer a few vaguely reassuring words, and maybe prescribe a pill to treat the patient’s depression, or blood thinners to treat his cardiovascular disease. Indeed, they’ve bought in to the medical myth of the patient as a passive recipient of treatment. These doctors are sometimes seriously overweight and deeply unhealthy themselves, and they often do little to combat unhealthy habits in the people around them. In fact, studies have shown that the standard of care given by doctors is in direct relation to their own health and fitness. Obese and overweight doctors, for example, are less likely to talk to their patients about health, exercise, and nutrition.
It’s generally accepted that the best way to lose weight and improve or maintain fitness is to exercise regularly and cut calories. A growing number of adults are attempting to follow this advice as they find themselves fighting creeping additional pounds and obesity as they get older. However, this formula for success also has a downside, one that is especially on the minds of athletes and active adults: the risk of losing lean muscle and, as a consequence, a decline in physical performance.
One exercise method that promotes significant improvement in muscle strength and tone, cardiovascular health, and metabolic enhancement among both elite and recreational athletes is resistance weight training. This form of exercise also is associated with an increase in muscle endurance and lean muscle mass as well as a decrease in body fat, all benefits that can improve overall quality of life and fight against age-related disease and disability.
There are problems however associated with combining resistance training and a low-calorie, low-carb diet. Basically, you can lose lean muscle mass, experience poorer athletic performance, and be at greater risk of experiencing illness or exercise-related injury. At the same time, men who engage in resistance exercise during a “cut diet” require higher intake of protein so they can avoid experiencing muscle damage and loss of athletic ability. Read More
It’s no secret that obesity is a major health challenge today and one that has grown steadily over the past years. But why are we fatter today than we were three decades ago? At one time, experts thought the cause of overweight/obesity was simple: too many calories consumed plus a sedentary lifestyle equaled excess weight.
However, the reasons behind being overweight or obese are more involved than that. Of course, food intake and exercise play critical roles. But according to the Professor Jennifer Kuk, lead author of a recent study from York University in Toronto, excessive weight is “actually much more complex than just ‘energy in’ versus ‘energy out.’ She explained that lifestyle and environmental factors may also be key in why “ultimately, maintaining a healthy body weight is now more challenging than ever.”