November is Men’s Health Awareness month, also known as Movember for the popular practice of growing a moustache all month (or supporting someone who does) to raise awareness of men’s health issues. According to the Center for Disease Control, Center for Health Statistics (2011-2014), the top two leading causes of death for American men and women regardless of race were the same, heart disease and cancer. The types of cancers among men and women are different, with the 3 most common cancer related deaths for men resulting from lung, prostate and colorectal cancers.
The good news to be taken from these morbid statistics is that, while we can’t do anything about our genetics, there are most definitely behavioral changes we can make to significantly reduce the risk of dying from either heart disease or cancer. And luckily, according to the Mayo Clinic, the top 3 recommendations for reducing your risk of heart disease are also the most common recommendations for reducing your risk of cancer. Can I get a drum roll please?
#1 Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
#2 Eat a healthy diet of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats (Omega-3s)
#3 Maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise (30 minutes daily at least 5 days/week)
Other behavioral factors that were recognized for their preventative qualities include getting adequate rest/quality sleep, managing stress and seeing your doctor for routine screenings such as blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate and testicular cancer. If you read last month’s blog post Life Balance As Your Primary Medicine, you should begin to recognize a pattern. The behaviors we choose have an enormous impact on our health and vitality. It sounds easy enough, but I know it’s not. So my challenge to you this month, for each day that you grow your “Mo” commit to at least one of the risk reducing behaviors listed.
PS-If stress management and improved sleep are on your list of risk reducing behaviors, research has proven that massage therapy can help with both of those. Come see me at Connective Touch Therapeutic Massage in Reston!