Men: Health tips by age
Focused on Health - August 2013
by Adelina Espat
Maintaining a strong, healthy body throughout life may seem like the battle of the ages.
That’s why we’ve broken down our health tips by age. We want to help you look and feel your best at every stage of life. Because, after all, staying in fighting shape is one of your best defenses against cancer and other diseases.
“Practicing these healthy behaviors is important for all men, regardless of age,” says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center. “So take note of all of these tips — even the ones directed toward men older or younger than you.”
Snuff out smoking. Avoiding tobacco, particularly cigarette smoking, is one of the most important lifestyle choices you can make to lower your cancer risks. Giving up tobacco helps lower your risk for cancer, stroke, and heart and lung disease.
Even better: It’s never too late to quit. Smokers who quit, regardless of age, live longer than those who continue to smoke.
Your 20s: Sex, vaccines and HPV
PROBLEM: Most sexually active men will get the human papillomavirus (HPV) at some point in their lives. This sexually transmitted disease can cause penile, anal and head and neck cancers in men.
FIX: Protect your body from HPV. One way is by getting the HPV vaccine. You can get the vaccine up to age 26. It protects you from the HPV types that cause most genital warts and anal cancers.
You also can reduce your risk of HPV infection by staying in a monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. Condom use reduces your chances of getting infected, but it doesn’t fully protect you against HPV.
Your 30s: Put some muscle into it
PROBLEM: Most men begin to lose muscle mass after age 30. Strength training can prevent muscle loss and build bone density. It also increases the rate at which your body burns calories to keep you at a healthy weight. And, maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid diseases like cancer.
FIX: So, if your idea of exercise is running or playing a sport, now’s the time to step up your game. Move out of your comfort zone, and start a weight training program.
Your 40s: Fight the battle of the bulge
PROBLEM: As you get older, your metabolism slows down. This is especially true for men after age 40, who may have a hard time staying at the same weight they had in their 20s and 30s.
FIX: Making healthy food choices and staying active every day can help jump-start your metabolism and keep off unwanted pounds. Avoid weight gain by bulking up on fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on red and processed meats.
Your 50s and older: Just what the doctor ordered
PROBLEM: Cancer is more likely to show up in men age 50 and older. That’s why the majority of cancer screening exams begin at this age for men.
Cancer screening exams are medical tests done when you’re healthy. So, don’t wait for signs of illness to show-up to get your check-up.
Finding and treating cancer as early as possible is your best chance at beating the disease. In the case of prostate and colon cancer (common cancers in men), treating the disease at an early stage means you’ll be less likely to experience long-term side effects.
FIX: Talk to your doctor about screening exams. Your doctor can help you learn about your personal risk for cancer, and tell you what exams you should get and how often.
Get annual check-ups
Make your health a top priority at every age. Whether you’re in your 20s, 40s or 60s, yearly check-ups are a must. With the aid of your doctor, you can create a personalized health plan to help you stay healthy for many years to come.
Print out our men's screening exams by age checklist to take to your next doctor’s visit.
Get more tips for your age:
Men's health tips for your 20s