NMC Commentary

Do you have tips to promote Men’s Health?

Yes! As a society, we have a strong and rightful emphasis on women’s health and near Mothers’ Day, I shared steps that women could take to improve their health and increase the likelihood of early detection of concerns through important screenings such as mammography.  Now, as Fathers’ Day approaches, it is the perfect time to follow that with an important message to all the men in our community.  Your health is important too!  By being attentive to your health through preventive measures, a relationship with a primary care provider, and the appropriate screenings, you can help ensure that you are as active and productive as possible in all the things that you want to do in life.

Okay, guys, let’s be frank. There are things you can do to enjoy the benefits of better health.  You don’t have to become a triathlete over night or deprive yourself of your favorite food in order to begin to make improvements that will help you feel better and begin to improve your health. Are you physically active? Maybe you could add a 15-minute walk every morning or every evening?  Or a session of active play with your kids each day?  As you increase your physical activity outdoors, remember to wear sunscreen (an important and overlooked step in cancer prevention). Are you eating your fruits and vegetables?  Start with some that you already know you like and increase the frequency in which you enjoy them.  Add one serving a day and see if eventually you can get up to five servings a day.  And hydrate!  Water is so important to your body’s overall function – it is another often overlooked but simple to adopt healthy habit that can make a real difference.  Your body will thank you for these new habits and reward you with greater energy and stamina that you can put to good use on a daily basis.  Are you using tobacco?  When you are ready to break free of that, there is incredible support waiting to help you through the statewide 802Quits.org website and from our local resources through Chari Andersen in NMC’s Lifestyle Medicine Department (you can reach Chari at 524-8480). Finally, don’t forget about sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep a day for adult men.  That is another one that is easy to take for granted in a busy life, but the rewards are great if you will invest in your own health and give your body what it needs.

How do you get started with your next steps on your healthier journey? Our engaging RiseVT community campaign to embrace healthy lifestyles, improve the quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs is the perfect place to start!  Out at the RiseVT website, www.RiseVT.com, you can fill out a personal scorecard to see what healthy habits you are already strong in – and what you might consider tackling next on your path to more energy and better health. You will find more great information on health and healthy events and offerings in our community.  Plus, there is a great listing and map of local resources for activity: walking, hiking, biking, etc.  Getting out and enjoying the outdoors this summer may help reduce your stress and boost your fitness – plus, it is a great way to enjoy time with your friends and family!

Meanwhile, when was the last time you saw a primary care physician or advance practice provider? Just like a car, men need regular inspection and tune ups – so when was the last time you went to your body’s mechanic?  If you don’t remember, it’s likely been more than a year so it is likely time to book your ‘annual’ physical and connect with your provider. If you need a primary care provider, call NMC’s Community Relations Office at 802 524 1280 and Erin will help you find one near you. Your primary care provider will know what screenings are right for your age and stage of life – blood pressure check, skin check, prostate exam, colonoscopy, etc. I bet none of these are as bad as your buddies might tell you and I am absolutely sure they are incredibly important in your overall health.  Please make your appointment today.

Happy Fathers’ Day to all the dads out there – and all the best to all the men in our community. We appreciate all you do and encourage you to invest in your own health so you can continue to enjoy life and make a difference in the lives of those around you.

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer