Healthy Habits for Living Longer

Once that first child is born and grabs the heart with a big toothless smile, a father’s heart is no longer his own. Such a precious responsibility brings with it a need some major behavioral changes on the part of many new dads. This young life will need all the guidance it can get to maneuver the minefields of life, and a father should make every effort to be around as long as possible to give experienced direction. This means that good health habits should become a priority, rather than being of secondary concern.

Remembering that discerning eyes will always be watching, a conscientious father will want to set a healthy example for his son or daughter while continually working to keep himself in good physical shape. Being healthy is partly just a matter of learning moderation in all things. Fathers should establish a sensible exercise and weight training program that is possible to maintain over the long haul. Though this sounds difficult, Dad can incorporate sporting activities that he already enjoys into his routine. It is also nice to establish a buddy system with other men to force some accountability into the exercise plan and give some much needed support and camaraderie. Exercise not only helps with weight control and strengthens the heart muscle, but it also relieves stress and raises the energy levels. This can add years to the life of a father who must juggle work, finances, marriage and family life.

A healthy lifestyle for men needs to include other small changes as well. Food choices are important, and those unable to get enough fruit and vegetables into their diet should consider taking a daily multipurpose vitamin. Research has also shown that healthy diets include over twenty-five grams of fiber daily. Fathers can easily incorporate this into their eating routines by consuming legumes, nuts, and whole grains. A more difficult task for men seems to be in limiting their salt consumption, but this small change will help to make those prone to high blood pressure much less likely to have difficulty with this problem. Also, recent research has shown that adding active probiotic cultures to the diet, such as those found in yogurt, can help to strengthen the body’s immune system responses.

While fathers usually insist that their children see a doctor for periodic checkups, very few are as religious about scheduling appointments for themselves. All men need to see their physician for a yearly physical to catch smaller health issues before they become problematic. This is paramount if cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or other major genetic diseases tend to run in the family. Caught early, many of these conditions are highly treatable. As a man ages, he should consult his doctor about important diagnostic tests that have proven reliable in the early detection of some men’s health issues. These include an electrocardiogram and a colonoscopy.

To be around for the children as long as possible, men also need to be attentive to the little habits that can result in tragedy. Wearing sunscreen every day will forestall skin cancer and demonstrate the need for this good practice to the kids who can begin making this a daily habit. Wearing a seatbelt when driving and a safety helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle are also important in reducing the risk of an accident and teaching children a lesson.
Dads need to do everything possible to guard their health, not only for themselves, but also because of their love for their children. Working to maintain good health is one of the best gifts a father can give them.