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Men's Health (cont.)

Optimizing Men's Health

Most men can begin moderate exercise, such as walking, without a medical examination. The following people, however, should consult a doctor before beginning more vigorous exercise:

  • Men over age 40
  • Individuals with heart or lung disease, asthma, arthritis, or osteoporosis
  • Individuals who experience chest pressure or pain with exertion, or who develop fatigue or shortness of breath easily Individuals with conditions that increase their risks of developing coronary heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking, high blood cholesterol, or having family members who had early onset heart attacks and coronary heart disease
  • Individuals who are morbidly obese
  • Regular exercise can prevent and reverse age-related decreases in muscle mass and strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, and decrease the risk of falls in the elderly. Regular exercise can help prevent coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Regular, weight-bearing exercise can also help prevent osteoporosis by building bone strength. Most clinicians suggest that the use of weights, even in elderly men, improves balance, mental health, mood and self-confidence. Thirty minutes of modest exercise (walking is OK) at least three to five days a week is recommended, but the greatest health benefits come from exercising most days of the week.
  • Stop smoking tobacco; start to stop today (it takes about 15 years of nonsmoking behavior to achieve a "normal" risk level for heart disease for those that smoke). Stop using chewing tobacco to avoid oral cancers.
  • Chronic, excess alcohol consumption is the major cause of liver cirrhosis in the U.S. Liver cirrhosis can cause internal hemorrhage, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, easy bleeding and bruising, muscle wasting, mental confusion, infections, and in advanced cases, coma, and kidney failure. Liver cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.
  • Alcohol accounts for 40%-50% of deaths from automobile accidents in the U.S.
  • Alcohol use is a significant cause of injury and death from home accidents, drowning, and burns.
  • Make good choices; do not ever use illegal intravenous drugs, cocaine, or other non-prescribed stimulant or depressive compounds.
  • Venereal disease (sexually transmitted diseases or STDs)can be avoided many ways, including using condoms.
  • Taking some risks is often a part of men's life that men enjoy (athletics, race car driving, wilderness hiking, mountain climbing, scuba diving, and many others) but there are foolish risks that should be avoided:
    • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
    • driving while sleep-deprived,
    • reckless driving and speeding plus "road rage,"
    • driving while using cell phones, texting, or performing other tasks,
    • motorcycle (and bicycle) riding without helmets,
    • possession of firearms and guns without proper training and storage, and
    • smoking in bed are some examples.

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