Living healthy is important even if you’re not thinking about being a dad. Exercise, eat right and avoid tobacco and drugs. If you do, you’ll live longer and you’ll be ready for fatherhood if you decide it’s right for you.
You should always be thinking about your personal health and well-being. Staying physically fit will help you in all areas of your life including work, sports, socializing with friends and many other things you enjoy.
- Remove dangerous chemicals from your home. This includes bug killers, weed sprays, lead-based products and other household chemicals.
- Eat healthy foods and exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Know your family health history and share it with your healthcare provider.
- Schedule a health screening at least once a year and ask lots of questions about any health concerns you may have.
- Visit your dentist at least once (and ideally twice) every year for healthy teeth and gums.
Leave the alcohol, smoking and drugs alone. Using tobacco, drugs and alcohol can cause serious health problems and lead to lower testosterone levels. Lower levels can cause lower sex drive, smaller testicles and increased male breast size. You may not be aware that:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco can lower your sperm count and make it more difficult to get an erection.
- Drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day can cause abnormal sperm and lower your testosterone level.
- Using marijuana increases the risk of chronic cough and bronchitis as well as schizophrenia in at-risk individuals.
- Steroid abuse affects the hormone production in your body, causing many changes that may not be reversible.
Make the choice to get checked. It’s always important to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) regularly. It’s a step in the right direction towards good health. STIs can cause problems down the road in terms of trying to get pregnant, as well as other issues.
You may think you’re ok, but men can stay infected for a long time. They also are much less likely to show signs of infection than women. You won’t know you’re passing something on to your partner if you don’t think you’re infected.
If you’re able to spread an STI, you’re also able to get your partner pregnant if she’s not using birth control. Untreated STIs in women can be very dangerous for a pregnancy.
Resources You can get general information about men’s health and staying active here on the CDC website.
Learn more about the different types of STIs and how to avoid getting them.
A big factor in your overall health is where you work and live. Even though you may not be having kids any time soon, it’s important to know that certain chemicals and conditions in your home or workplace can cause serious risks to your reproductive health.
- Radiation or chemicals at work
- Extremely hot environments
- Organic solvents used for hobbies like refinishing furniture, repairing cars, painting and building models
- Lead or heavy metals used for hobbies like pottery, cleaning guns and in industrial workplaces
- Metals, pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that may be found in workplaces
A healthy mind is important to being an all-around healthy person. When you take care of your mental state, your physical body enjoys the benefits.
To counter stress, use these tips and hints:
- Tackle stress head-on, addressing the problem and moving on.
- Take deep, slow breaths when you feel stress coming on.
- Try to get about eight hours of sleep every night.
- Laughter can sometimes be the best medicine.
- Sweat it out with a solid workout or run.
- Find someone to talk to.
Could it be more than just stress? Sometimes normal stress can turn into depression and anxiety. You may need professional help to deal with these conditions. Men don’t like to ask for help, but doing so is a sign of strength. You are seeing the problem and you know you want to do something about it.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your depression so you can get the help you need. You can also call the National Lifeline for Support at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
Resources The Texas Department of State Health Services provides useful information on mental health and how to get help.
Find plenty of printouts and worksheets to help you manage stress.
The National Institute of Mental Health outlines these signs and symptoms of depression in men.
Understand the issues of male depression with help from The Mayo Clinic.