(www.BlackDoctor.org) -- Most of the anti-aging articles printed lately are geared toward women, but what about men? Men want to remain virile and handsome as they age too. While aging is inevitable, feeling older doesn’t have to be. A number of anti-aging strategies can hold back the hands of time and improve health and longevity for men.
Anti-Aging Strategies for Men
There is no scientific evidence that anti-aging supplements, such as growth hormone, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and testosterone, can improve longevity. On the other hand, lifestyle changes have proven longevity benefits. Here are six tried-and-true strategies for living longer:
1. Drink moderately and don’t smoke. More than two alcoholic drinks per day can damage your liver over time and cause other potentially fatal health problems. Smoking drastically increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease. But smokers who quit—no matter what their age—can add years to their life. According to the American Lung Association, smokers who quit before age 35 have a life expectancy similar to people who have never smoked. Even quitting after age 65 will add several years to your life.
2. Get regular checkups and screenings. Seeing a doctor at least once a year and having the recommended screenings for your age can prevent minor health problems from developing into chronic or deadly diseases. Talk to your doctor about screening for colon cancer starting at age 45 (earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer) and for prostate cancer, the second most common cancer killer of men.
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can take three years off your life, while obesity can slash seven years off your life. Additionally, a 2008 Kaiser Permanente study of 6,500 men and women found that those who accumulated lots of belly fat in their forties were almost three times more likely to develop dementia in their seventies.
4. Manage stress. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart attacks, as well as decreased immunity. Don’t let stress interfere with your longevity. Try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or listening to soothing music when you feel stress mounting.
5. Watch your diet. Steer clear of fast food—it’s loaded with salt, which increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Some studies suggest that a healthy diet of 25- to 40-percent fewer calories than normal may help longevity, but the studies have only been conducted in animals. On the other hand, there’s plenty of solid research supporting the benefits of eating a balanced diet with five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
6. Exercise regularly. Aerobic workouts promote longevity by strengthening the heart and lungs. But don’t skimp on resistance workouts (with free weights or weight machines). Resistance training is the only type of exercise that slows declines in muscle mass, bone density and strength that were once considered inevitable consequences of aging.
It’s never too late to starting taking steps to fight the effects of aging. A healthy lifestyle is a critical factor in determining how your health will fare as the years go by. By taking care of yourself, you can look forward to a long and healthy life.
BDO (www.BlackDoctor.org ) is the World’s largest and most comprehensive online health resource specifically targeted to African Americans.