While many men struggle to be their own health advocate, Father’s Day provides the perfect reminder for families to step up and encourage dad to take care of himself.
Dr. Jesse Mills, director of The Men’s Clinic at UCLA, stresses that simple lifestyle changes can alleviate many men’s health issues – and suggests tips families can follow to help dad do just that.
Start the conversation.
Mills encourages families to take the initiative and speak to dad about his health concerns.
“We tend to think men don’t want to talk about their own health, but I find that’s really not the case with most. Dads are much more open than you’d think to talk about their health.”
Give him an exercise buddy.
Regardless of their age, kids can be their dad’s workout buddy or just be involved in his routine.
“Even when dad is taking care of the kids, the kids don’t have to be a roadblock for his exercise. Dads of toddlers can run while pushing the stroller and stop at the playground with his kids mid-workout. “
Help him get enough sleep.
Families should make sure dad gets six to eight hours of sleep per day because any less can contribute to a host of health problems.
“Testosterone, for example, is made while sleeping, so inadequate sleep is a big harm to men’s health.”
Give him some ‘me time’ each day.
Small steps can help dad begin implementing healthy activities into his life – even if just for 30 minutes each day.
“Giving the guy in your life some time each day for a healthy activity – like a nap, reading time, or exercise rather than a trip to the sports bar – will help him develop good habits.”
Make sure he’s hitting health milestones based on his age.
Men should be looking at certain health markers in each decade of life, and families can help them keep track.
“Dads in their 30s should get checked for healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels and should be doing a testicular self-exam monthly. Dads in their 50s should receive a colonoscopy and should begin getting screened by their doctors for prostate cancer.”