It’s as Easy as Walking Five City Blocks a Day

So, you want to make some small changes to your lifestyle but, like most guys, you’re not sure where to start. Looking at five major lifestyle categories: exercise, alcohol use, diet, smoking and sleep, most, if not all of us, can think of instances when we haven’t made the best choices, potentially putting ourselves at risk for the seven diseases and conditions most common to men. Yet there is much that can be done to reduce and even reverse the likelihood of developing lifestyle-related conditions or diseases.

To make a positive impact on your health, we present a list of relatively easy lifestyle changes that positively affect your long-term health. It is remarkable how such small changes translate into significantly improved health outcomes and the statistics below provide clear evidence of this. Furthermore, when we talk about small changes, we mean small — such as walking an extra five city blocks a day to reduce the risk of heart attack.

Detailed below are a variety of lifestyle changes that can hugely influence both your quality of life and your longevity.

Getting More Exercise

Heart Attack
Men who climb 50 stairs or more or walk five city blocks a day have a 25% lower risk of heart attack than those who climb or walk less than this. Young men who exercise regularly reduce their risk of heart attack by 36%. Even if a man doesn’t start an exercise program until middle age, the risk of having a heart attack is reduced by 23%.1,2

Type 2 Diabetes
Brisk walking for 2 ½ hours a week reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 60%.3

Prostate Cancer
Vigorous activity lowers your risk of prostate cancer by 10%. Moderate exercise slightly lowers the risk of prostate cancer. Men who are not sedentary during work and who walked or bicycled more than 30 minutes per day during adult life have an approximately 20% lower risk of prostate cancer. 4, 5, 6

Osteoporosis
Walk, jog or lift weights 30 to 60 minutes a day, three to five times a week to stimulate bone health. Strenuous exercise reduces by the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures in men aged 30 to 50 by nearly 50%. In men older than 50, strenuous exercise reduces fractures by 40%. 7,8

Erectile Dysfunction
Accumulating the recommended amount of moderate-intensity physical activity (at least 150 minutes a week) is associated with the 50% less risk of erectile dysfunction.9

Low Testosterone
Six weeks of aerobic exercise — jogging or brisk walking — significantly increases testosterone levels in middle-aged and older men.10

Colon Cancer
Research shows that sedentary time, or sitting time, increases your risk of colorectal cancer. You can reduce your risk by sitting less and taking frequent, short breaks from sitting.11

Reducing Alcohol

Heart Attack
Light drinkers — those who drink one to two drinks a day at most — reduce their risk of heart attack by almost 30%.12

Type 2 Diabetes
Those who consume four to 10 drinks a week at most have the lowest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Drinking more than 10 drinks a week almost doubles your risk of Type 2 diabetes.13

Prostate Cancer
A maximum of two alcoholic drinks a day may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.14,15

Osteoporosis
Reduce your intake of alcohol to about one drink a day to lower the risk of developing weak or brittle bones.16,17

Erectile Dysfunction
Men who imbibe less than one-to-two drinks a day or do not drink at all have 10% less risk of erectile dysfunction than those who drink three or more alcoholic beverages or more in a day.18,19,20

Low Testosterone
Testosterone levels in middle-aged and older men increase when alcohol consumption is limited to one occasional drink. So, raise a glass only on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, or a family BBQ.21

Colon Cancer
If you choose to drink alcohol, keep it to less than two drinks a day. The less you drink, the more you reduce your risk.22

Improving Your Diet

Heart Attack
A Mediterranean diet — composed mainly of fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and plant-based oils like olive oil — lowers your risk of heart attack by about 30%. Have 2.3 grams of salt (one teaspoon) or less of salt a day. One hamburger or one slice of pizza has half the daily-recommended amount of salt.23,24

Type 2 Diabetes
Combine diet with exercise for the greatest risk reduction. Cut your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 60% by exercising 30 minutes a day and decreasing your body weight by 7%. Men who ate three to five servings a day of whole grains: oats, brown or wild rice, whole wheat or rye bread and pasta, had a 25% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.25, 26

Prostate Cancer
Replacing animal fats (butter, cheese, milk, yogurt, processed meats and marbled cuts of meat) with vegetable-based fats like olive and grape seed oil reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 65%.27

Osteoporosis
Build calcium reserves in your bones in your 20s to prevent osteoporosis-related fractures in middle and old age. In all ages, eating the following foods will combat osteoporosis and bone fractures related to it:

– Calcium-rich vegetables like broccoli and spinach, fortified juices and cereals, tofu, and low- or no-fat yogurt, cheese and milk.
– Fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
– Three or more servings a week of oily, dark-fleshed fish like tuna.
– A consistent diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains reduces the risk of osteoporosis-related bone fractures by 17% in men aged 50 and over.28, 29
– A diet of three or more servings a week of oily, dark-fleshed fish like tuna helped maintain bone density in men.30

Erectile Dysfunction
One third of men with erectile dysfunction who eat a Mediterranean diet (fish, vegetable-based oils like olive oil, fruits and vegetables) for two years regain normal erectile function.31

Colon Cancer
High consumption of vegetables reduces risk of colon cancer by 50%.32

Quitting Smoking

Heart attack
Quit smoking, and your risk of heart attack is cut in half after just one year. After 15 years of butting out, your risk of heart attack is the same as someone who never smoked.33

Type 2 Diabetes
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes by about 50%.34

Prostate Cancer
Non-smokers have about 10% less risk of progressive and fatal prostate cancer.35

Osteoporosis
Quit smoking to reduce the risk of developing weak, brittle bones.36

Erectile Dysfunction
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction by 30% after one year. Men who have never smoked are at 50% less risk of developing erectile dysfunction than current smokers.37

Colon Cancer
Quitting smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke will reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.38

Getting Seven-to-Eight Hours of Sleep a Night

Heart Attack
Sleep gives your body — including your heart — much needed rest by lowering your blood pressure and slowing your heart rate. Those who sleep seven-to-eight hours a night have about 60% less risk of fatal heart attack than those who sleep five hours or less and also have 80% less risk than those who sleep nine hours or more a night.39, 40

Type 2 Diabetes
Those who sleep seven-to eight hours a night have three times less risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those who sleep six hours or less.41

Prostate Cancer
Getting seven-to-nine hours of sleep a night is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.42

Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is characterized by snoring and breathless spells during sleep. Treating OSA will resolve erectile problems in 75% of cases.43

References

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