June is when we celebrate the men in our life. Father’s Day we honor the men who stepped up for us.
When I thought about writing about men’s health, my first thought was to be funny with tip No. 1 for men’s health: Never tell a woman she looks fat, is “pretty for her age,” or that another woman had a great idea that was something she told you about previously, but you weren’t listening. Yep, I’ve got jokes!
On the more serious side though, men’s health is vitally important. It is important that we talk about it, that we encourage men to implement prevention and to go to the doctor when they have a need. I don’t want to generalize men into one behavior pattern, but I will talk about the men I know in my own life, my son, brothers, my late father, and the man in my life, as well as many men who are my dear friends.
Father’s day is a tough one for me, my father was not close to any of us and was not the epitome of health and died in his early 60s of congestive heart failure, was an insulin dependent diabetic, had liver and kidney issues as well as apparent depression, anxiety and alcoholism. Those are just the things I know about. My father was the old-stereotype tough guy, a Boston bad boy. He smoked cigarettes, drank beer and the only exercise I was aware he did was playing softball to drink more beer. He grew up believing that being a tough guy was what it meant to be a man. I always believe he did the best he could with what tools he had and I often wished he had an easier road.
I am the only girl in my family and grew up with brothers and raised a son. Although I think my brothers are also a bit more evolved humans than our father was, they also grew up believing being “a man” meant being a tough guy. One brother is a police officer and the other has worked as a bouncer and fought in Muay Thai competitions for many years. Both are hard to get to go to the doctor. And even my son who is now 30 years old and is a very free-spirit socially evolved human, I cannot get him to go to the doctor for anything, and he was raised by me!
So, my point being, in my experience with many of the men I know, it is hard to get many of them to address their health head on. I do know many men who are body builders and eat and train their bodies to be a work of art, but the men that are closest to me I have watched struggle to address things like not being able to sleep, digestive issues, sleep apnea, chronic pain, depression and they tended to bottle it up and just struggle though it in many cases.
Men’s heart health, diabetes and obesity, especially in the United States, are huge issues. Men struggling with depression and anxiety is still talked about with a shame and a stigma and affects men at an astounding rate. And a colonoscopy … Yikes! Not the favorite conversation of most men, but a vitally important one to have if they are over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer. So in honor of all of you guys out there, whether you are a “tough guy,” or the most gentle soul, or a little bit of both all wrapped up in bacon, no matter what it means to you to “be a man,” I hope part of what is important to you will be to address your health, to be there for the people you want to protect and take care of and to be the healthiest version of you. I’m available to take on new clients for weekend appointment if you need some help getting started, some motivation and encouragement or just need to know how to put together a training plan.
Happy Men’s Health Month!
Liz Jones is the owner of Liz Jones Wellness LLC, in Hunt and Rockwall counties, and is building Jones Wellness Ranch north of Greenville. She can be reached at Liz@LizJones.co or through her website at LizJones.co.