For men, the fountain of youth begins with treating their body and mind with respect. This means adopting healthy habits, ideally at an early age, helping increase their chances of preventing chronic health conditions while keeping physically fit.
Of course, every man has their own idea of how well they want to age. It’s not so much in terms of looking at age 25 at the age of 60 but rather it’s about the quality of life they want to live as they grow older. It’s about having energy, stamina, endurance, free from aches and pain, fully enjoying each day as it comes.
Granted, there are only so many age-related factors under our control. Food choices, whether to exercise or not, the choice to smoke or drink alcohol, or sleep habits can generally be managed on our own. But factors such as a man’s genetics and mental/emotional states are either unmanageable or harder to achieve.
The best way for men to practice anti-aging is to look at each distinct part of the body-brain health, heart health, weight control, stress and sleep, skin health, bone health, and below the belt health or what affects a man’s prostate and testosterone health. Men, who take care of the entirety of their body, will achieve the best anti-aging results.
Here are smart ideas for men to anti-age themselves and for feeling youthful for a long time:
Aging brings change and the brain is no exception. These changes may include noticeable losses in memory, concentration, losing the ability to quickly recall names and numbers, cognitive function, and reaction time. Studies even show that everyone’s brain tends to shrink with age, but men’s diminish faster than women’s.
Some changes that occur during brain aging include shrinkage in brain mass of the frontal lobe and hippocampus; cortical density declines; myelin nerve fibers shrink with age resulting in reduced function in processing; and as the brain ages, it generates fewer chemical messengers likely playing a role in cognition, memory and increasing depression.
Tips for maintaining brain health: Fortunately, there are many things men can do now to maintain a healthy brain. Mental exercises such as crossword puzzles, reading, or playing chess, involvement in social activities, learning a new skill such as playing a musical instrument, spending time with friends, or taking care of a pet, all help preserve good brain health. Also, eating more berries, fish, nuts, and green leafy vegetables provide brain-sustaining nutrients for better functioning.
Heart disease is the leading killer of U.S. men. Forms of heart disease include hypertension, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke. By the time a man reaches age 60, his risk for developing heart disease is 75%.
Tips for maintaining cardiovascular health: Some of the best advice helping men stay “young at heart,” besides not smoking is to eat a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. This way of eating emphasizes plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, and whole grains. Staying away from fast food, pizza, salty snack foods, or boxed dinners with too much sodium and/or fat, are also good practices to follow.
Men should also engage in aerobic exercise most days of the week by walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, playing tennis, or other similar forms of physical activity.
Reach and maintain a healthy body weight
Men who carry excess weight are at a greater risk for many chronic health conditions: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. These conditions have a significant impact on a man’s overall health and well-being.
Tips for reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight: Weight management is best reached by eating three meals a day, choosing plenty of fruits and vegetables and less fatty or sugary foods and beverages, consistent exercise, adequate sleep, and reducing stress. Even a modest 5 to 7 percent weight loss can have a dramatic improvement in overall health.
Managing stress and adequate sleep
Living a stressful life with inadequate sleep will eventually take a toll on a man. When men lack sleep, stress levels rise, and when stress levels rise, men lack sleep. Loads of stress can lead to heightened anxiety, fatigue, depression along with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Not enough shut-eye impacts short-term health with a lack of alertness, impaired memory, and a greater likelihood of car accidents.
Tips for managing stress and sleep: To lessen stress, men need good coping techniques such as enjoying a hobby, listening to music, taking time to have fun, or avoid taking on too many tasks. To improve sleep, men should avoid stimulants such as caffeine close to bedtime, exercise to promote good quality sleep and create a pleasant sleep environment by sleeping in a cool room at 60 to 67 degrees and powering down from all electronics.
The largest organ of the body is often neglected by men. Too much sun exposure without wearing sunscreen, inadequate hydration, or ignoring skin rashes are some of the abuses a man’s skin endures over his lifetime.
Tips for skin health: The top tip men can do for good long-term skin health is to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day year-round. Also wearing a hat when outdoors for long periods at a time and getting a yearly full-body skin check by a dermatologist checking for skin cancer.
Women are at a greater risk for thinning and brittle bones, yet men can get osteoporosis too. As men get older, their risk for developing this silent killer increases. Here are some facts: up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis; each year about 80,000 men will break a hip, and men tend to break bones in the spine or break a hip. Male risk factors for thinning bones include steroid medicines, not exercising, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or having low testosterone levels.
Tips for bone health: Bone healthy behaviors for men to adopt are the following:
- Get the calcium and vitamin D men need every day. Men under age 69 need 1000 mg of calcium and 400-800 IUs (International Units) of vitamin D3 each day and 70 and older require 1200 mg of calcium and 800-1000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily.
- Eat more calcium-rich foods such as dairy like milk, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese and vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, egg yolks, and milk.
- Do weight-bearing exercises such as jogging, lifting weights, jumping rope or jumping jacks, brisk walking, hiking, or playing basketball.
- Don’t smoke
Below the belt
A man’s prostate and testosterone levels can change with age. As men get older, especially after age 50, the size of the prostate can increase leading to reduced urine flow and frequent bathroom trips. There is also the possibility of benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis, and prostate cancer. Low testosterone or low T, is another factor more likely to affect older men due to fluctuations in this hormone. Symptoms of low T include a low sex drive, fatigue, reduced muscle mass, irritability, erectile dysfunction, and depression.
Tips for improving prostate health and low testosterone: Beginning as early as age 40, all men should be screened for prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in American men. Keep the prostate healthy by eating a heart-healthy, low carbohydrate diet, exercise, reach a healthy body weight, and practice stress reduction. Some possible ways to increase testosterone levels naturally include lifting weights, minimizing stress and cortisol levels, get some sun or take a vitamin D supplement, and get plenty of rest and high-quality sleep. Men should also consult with a urologist to evaluate their possible need for testosterone therapy.
Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.