13 easy and fun ways to keep dad (and you) happy and healthy

Today men are more concerned about their health than ever before. Still, statistics show that men live an average of seven years less than women. They are also at higher risk for all 15 leading causes of death. Men may perceive themselves as being invinceable, and put preventive health care on the back burner. Even when symptoms do appear, men may be reluctant to schedule a visit for regular medical care. This puts them at increased risk of becoming ill or dying from very preventable conditions.

Regular, preventive health care goes a long way toward helping to prolong your lifespan as well as improve the quality of your life.

Be health smart! Honestly appraise your health. Are you working toward achieving your health goals? Listen to your body. Do you pay attention to your body's signs that stress is getting out of control? Don't ignore your body's clear signals. Do what you need to relax. Take time out for your health.


Chill out

Stress affects us all. It definitely impacts your health. An estimated 80 percent of all illnesses are stress-related.


It's important to look at your life and pinpoint the stressors. In a poll of men between the ages of 18 and 65 by Men's Health Magazine, it was found that work topped the list as the major stressor in men's lives. A man's identity today is still closely tied to the work he does and the amount of money he makes. Men continue to see themselves in the traditional role of the provider.


In men, stress often reveals itself in irritability. Maybe it's time to make some changes. Are you happy? Are you where you want to be in life, or on the path toward this goal? Are you doing what you want to be doing? If not, it's time to explore your options.


Food for thought

How's your diet? What you eat affects not only your health, but how you feel.


Veggies and fruits are high in fiber, brimming with vitamins and minerals and rich in antioxidants. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Don't skip breakfast. Eating frequently helps to keep your metabolism running in full gear. You will be less prone to gaining weight, suffering from depression, becoming fatigued or having difficulty falling asleep Keep an eye on your fat intake. A diet that is high in fat slows you down and can also dull your sex drive. Allow enough time for a peaceful meal with your family (and when you're eating on your own). Take this time for yourself no matter how rushed your day is.


In the company of friends

Intimate relationships begin with your family.


Foster a real sense of togetherness. Enjoy time together as a family, as well as time for just you and your partner. Allow time for play, intimacy and conversation. Concentrate on who you're with or what you're doing, as if you have nothing else to do. Begin to work toward developing a network of friends and connections outside of your family. Cultivate your interests. Men often lack the support network of friends that women find so important. In a recent study out of Penn State University, it was found that rural men live longer than their urban and suburban peers. Experts believe this has to do with the longtime social relationships men enjoy in rural communities. Get involved.



Power nap

Take a 20 minute snooze each day.


Napping no longer has a stigma attached to it. James Maas, a Cornell professor and sleep authority commented that Americans were sleeping an average of 10 hours a night before the invention of electric light. Now the average is 7.1 hours, with many getting by on significantly less than the average. This lack of sleep will dramatically affect your alertness, mood and energy level. These benefits can still be apparent as much as 10 hours later. Napping is a great way of replenishing your sleep deficit, as well as feeding your soul.

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