Most experts say that becoming a dad is a great way to get healthy.
Traditionally, men pay less attention to their health than women. (Think the stereotypical burger lover or the armchair sports fan on game day).
But fatherhood – when dad becomes king of his castle and responsible for somebody other than himself – tends to change all that.
According to WebMD.com, of the top 15 leading causes of death, men lead women in all categories except Alzheimer’s disease, but the reason for that is in its own way disheartening. Seems men don’t live long enough to develop the disease. (Ref. 1)
While the experts recommend a healthy diet, exercise and regular visits to a health care professional, becoming a dad can also make a difference. Dads – especially contemporary dads - tend to recognize the importance of paying more attention to their health so they’ll be around for their kids.
But that’s not the only benefit, experts say.
“Fatherhood comes with a lot of great health perks,” Dr. Marcus Goldman, author of “The Joy of Fatherhood: The First Twelve Months,” told Parenting magazine. “Not only does it inspire men to take better care of themselves physically, but it also fills them with a sense of purpose that genuinely enhances their psychological well-being.” (Ref. 2)
Becoming a parent not only encourages men to make better decisions – statistics show that men who smoke are more likely to quit when they become fathers – they also, maybe by default, become more active. (Ref. 3)
That’s especially good news since, for men, heart health plays the biggest role in overall health.
“Heart disease and stroke are the first and second leading causes of death worldwide, in both men and women,” according to Dr. Darwin Labarhe, director of the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s a huge global health problem,” he said, especially in the United States, where a high-fat diet is the norm. (Ref. 1)
A Father’s Day gift he’ll remember
So what to do for your dad this Father’s Day? Forget the boring tie and choose something that will help him focus on his heart so he’ll be around to love for a long, long time.
What better way to show your dad you love him?
- Help him find his Zen. Stress takes a big toll on people, and if Dad has a high-pressure job, he probably experiences some, putting him at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. Giving him the gift of exercise can help him keep his stress in check. Enroll him in a sports club that he might like - football, basketball, cycling, swimming, etc. – or hire a professional trainer to help him learn good strength training moves to protect his heart. Exercising 15 to 20 minutes a day helps lower the risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke, says the Harvard School of Public Health (Ref. 3) and those feel-good endorphins exercise releases will make him crave his next session.
- Make him laugh. Norman Cousins isn’t alone in the belief that laughter is the best medicine. According to researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, laughing improves circulation, lessening the risk of heart disease. According to their study, those who watched a funny movie had 22 percent better blood circulation than those who watched a stressful movie, instead (Ref. 3). Take Dad to see his favorite comedian or buy him a DVD of his favorite comedy or a season of a sitcom he loves.
- Fuel him up. Instead of that sausage log or brick of cheese, try a healthier gift geared toward heart health this year. Many experts will say if there’s one supplement that effectively targets heart health, it’s fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil protect the heart by helping cholesterol and blood pressure. While some people used to get enough from diet, we no longer do, in part because we’re eating less fish, but also because plants no longer provide optimum levels of omega-3s because they’re growing in soil that offers fewer nutrients. One to try: Our Omega-3 fish oil supplements are made from Hoki fish harvested from the waters off the coast of New Zealand as well as highly concentrated Tuna oil, and because of the exceptional quality, you won’t experience any fishy aftertaste.
What are you planning on doing for your dad this Father’s Day? Any extra tips for those looking for help?