When it comes to cars, you know when to change the oil, rotate the tires,
and have the front end aligned. But you may not be as diligent about caring for
your body as you are about your car.
The body needs routine maintenance, no matter how many miles you have on it.
Some men never get that care, and end up breaking down on the road, so to
speak. For many that's because they have no dealership to remind them when
they're due for service.
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"People bounce around from doctor to doctor and no one is really working
with them on an ongoing basis," says Rick Kellerman, MD, president-elect of
the American Family Physicians, who practices in Wichita, Kan.
"I think the No. 1 thing is probably establishing a relationship with a
physician that you know, and that you trust, and that you can communicate
with," he tells WebMD.
In addition to having a primary doctor, wouldn't it be nice to have a basic
maintenance schedule for your health? Well, here you go.
Keep in mind that the following schedule is meant for generally healthy men.
Recommendations may differ for men who have -- or once had -- significant
medical problems, or have other factors that might increase risks.
Fill up with good fuel.
The National Institutes of Health encourages
men to eat 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
Like your car, your body needs quality fuel to
keep it running smoothly. Fruits and vegetables should make up a large part of
your diet. Fatty foods, which leave deposits in your arteries like dirty
gasoline leaves deposits in your engine, should make up only a small part of
Rev your motor.
Ideally, you should exercise every day. The CDC and the American College of
Sports Medicine jointly recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise
(for example, a brisk walk that increases your heart rate and breathing) on
most days of the week.
Clean your grille.
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day.
Good oral hygiene prevents tooth decay and gum disease, which can be painful,
unattractive, and expensive to treat.
Use condoms. Condoms are used for birth control and to help reduce the
spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
A conscientious car owner examines belts and
hoses every month. He should also check his testicles that often.
self-examA self-exam is simple and
quick. Gently roll each testicle between your thumb and fingers, feeling for
any abnormal lumps. If you do feel a lump, talk to your doctor without
Rust spots on your vehicle's exterior should be fixed before they spread.
Likewise, you should keep a close watch on your skin for moles that could be
cancerous. Take a moment once a month to examine your whole body, using a
mirror to see your back. A suspicious mole is one that is asymmetrical, has an
irregular border, uneven color, is larger than a pencil eraser, or seems to be
changing in size, shape, or color.