5 Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Men
Experts share their thoughts on the top 5 things men can do to get healthy in the new year
New Year's Resolution No. 3: Go to the Doctor continued...
Promise yourself that if something doesn't feel right, you'll go to the
doctor, Brott tells men.
Besides treating ailments, a medical practitioner can screen for potential
problems, and keep a record of normal fitness levels. Health exams can give
doctors a baseline for things like blood pressure, and cholesterol. If a man
does not go to the doctor, it becomes harder for physicians to determine the
severity of a problem.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends the following screening
tests for men:
- Cholesterol Checks. Have your cholesterol screened at
least every five years, starting at age 35. Have it done at age 20 if you
smoke, have diabetes, or have a family history of heart disease.
- Blood Pressure. Have it checked at least every two
- Colorectal Cancer Tests. Begin testing at age 50.
- Diabetes. Have a test done if you have high cholesterol or
high blood pressure.
- Depression. Talk to your doctor if you've felt sad for two
weeks straight, and have had little interest in normally pleasurable
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Ask your doctor whether you
should be screened.
- Prostate Cancer Screening. Talk to your doctor about the
risk and benefits of performing the prostate-specific antigen test, or the
digital rectal exam.
Brott says it's also a good idea for men to give themselves a regular visual
exam, taking inventory of how they feel and look.
New Year's Resolution No. 4: Quit Smoking
Giving the nicotine habit the boot is one of the most popular resolutions
for both men and women. It is a difficult task, and for some people, success
does not come until after multiple tries.
Experts say the best way to deal with the problem is to get help. "You
get no extra points for being macho," says Brott.
There are a number of resources for support. You may visit your primary care
doctor and/or join a smoking cessation program in person, online, or by phone.
You may consider medication, or nicotine replacements such as patches, gums,
sprays, inhalers, and lozenges. Or you may contact groups such as the American
Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the CDC's Office on Smoking
and Health for help.
Robert Stenander, corporate services clinician for the Illinois Institute
for Addiction Recovery, recommends face-to-face support groups. The personal
interaction, he says, can help raise accountability, and can provide vital
"You can describe and talk about what your issues are with regard to
your smoking cessation, and you've got other people who may be able to give you
some hints and suggestions as to what they've encountered," says
A relapse is a real possibility, but it's important to look forward and
avoid negative thinking. "Don't give up," says Stenander. "Don't
get yourself in a defeatist attitude that you can't do something. Let's talk
about what you can do."
If one smoking cessation method doesn't work for you, try another one. You
may also consider different support groups as some may work better than
Don't forget that you can also enlist the support of family and friends.
Many former smokers have found loved ones as a vital source of