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Not all about the abs...tips to be a happier, healthier man

MOST of us know the importance of eating well and exercising, but there's more to being a healthy bloke than lifting dumbbells and packing protein.

Many men don't realise that their daily diet and lifestyle decisions can impact their health and wellbeing -affecting the way they look, feel and perform.

With that in mind, we've got five guaranteed ways to amp up men's health and happiness.

One, meditate

While it may seem like another one of those passing trends, this practice holds some serious health benefits, with top athletes such as Michael Jordan and LeBron James singing its praises.

Just 10 to 20 minutes of daily practice can help you think more clearly, build self-awareness, enhance sleep and reduce feelings of stress.

Who knew that sitting and doing nothing could be so good!

Two, sleep

It's no surprise that most hardworking men are sleep deprived, but just because it's common doesn't mean it's cool.

Lack of quality sleep can affect our judgement, mood, manner and ability to absorb and retain information.

Plus all the time and effort you might be putting into eating well and working out won't be as effective.

If it persists long-term, sleep deprivation can also contribute to obesity, low immunity and even early mortality.

Get into a good sleep routine, sleeping and waking at about the same time each day, and aim for at least six hours.

Three, try eating fibre for fitness

Fibre is a key component of a healthy diet, and it doesn't just come from your morning bowl of Weet-Bix.

It's recommended Aussies aim to eat at least 25-30g of fibre each day, which can lower your risk of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, even reducing your risk of certain cancers.

We recommend eating at least six serves of wholegrain or wholemeal foods every day, and at least two serves of fruit and five serves of veg per day, including legumes.

Four, see red…and green

Our old mate Popeye plugged spinach for a good reason.

Veggies such as broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard, kale and bok choy are a rich source of nutrients, with essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

And go for antioxidant-rich foods, such as tomatoes, carrots, watermelons and papaya, to promote general health and provide protection against some cancers.

Getting your dose of these red and green varieties can also minimise damage to your DNA triggered by free radicals during high-intensity exercise, which can lead to ageing, and diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Five, speak up

Health and wellbeing is something men often have trouble talking about.

This year, 14,500 men will be diagnosed with cancer - talking about signs and symptoms can encourage awareness and early detection.

Look for lumps, sores or ulcers that don't heal, unusual changes in your testicles, coughs that don't go away or show blood, or a hoarseness that hangs around, unexplained weight loss, moles that change shape, size or colour, blood in bowel motion, persistent changes in toilet habits or urinary problems or changes.

These symptoms are often related to more common, less serious health problems, but if you notice any unusual changes, or these symptoms persist, speak to your doctor straight away.

We also know that up to one-third of cancers and 40 per cent of deaths from cancer worldwide could be prevented through making simple lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, participating in screening programs, eating healthily, staying active and being SunSmart.

Take the time to follow these five tips and set a new personal best.

Remember guys, it's not all about the abs. The most attractive feature about a man is a healthy twinkle in his eye.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or call Cancer Council on 13 11 20.
 

Topics:  cancer council editors picks mens health



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