Fatherhood is an exhausting job, and like many caretakers, it can be tempting for dads to attend to others’ needs before their own. This Father’s Day, we urge dads to slow down, honor themselves, and see their own health as one of the most important gifts they can give to their kids.
To this end, we salute fathers everywhere and cast a spotlight on men’s health. Here, Skyterra staff members have identified some top health priorities for dads that often get overlooked.
Colon cancer awareness
Did you know that colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men? We tend to be more aware of better-known risks like prostate or lung cancer, but according to the American Cancer Society, one in 22 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime.
While genetic and medical factors can increase the likelihood of colon cancer, lifestyle also plays a significant role. Physical inactivity is strongly associated with colon cancer: One analysis found that sedentary people have a 25-50% increased risk. Excess body weight also increases risk, especially in men, and high body weight also reduces the likelihood of survival.
Recent studies also indicate that gut health – specifically, the collective microorganisms (i.e. the microbiome) naturally occurring in the digestive tract – influences the immune/inflammatory responses and by extension, tumor development.
Dietary choices play a huge role in maintaining your microbiome, so focus on eating real foods, especially “bitter” ones like arugula, garlic, leeks and dandelion greens. Check out these easy tips for more ways to promote gut health.
Early detection is also important. Ask your doctor to put you an appropriate screening schedule, since many early-stage colorectal cancers have no associated symptoms.
A well-balanced lifestyle helps keep testosterone at optimal levels – yet another reason why sleep, physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and stress reduction are important for your health.
Testosterone naturally depletes with age, but an unhealthy lifestyle can turn this into an issue. Symptoms of low testosterone include poor sexual function, sleeping issues, a drop in muscle mass, an increase in body fat, lower energy, and other physical changes. If you suspect this is a problem for you, a testosterone test may be a good addition to your yearly blood work.
Source: Urology Care Foundation
Connect with nature
We’re strong believers in the power of forest therapy, but the latest research confirms our natural instincts that outdoor activity offers benefits above and beyond working out in a gym.
Outdoor activity enhances the immune system, improves mental clarity, and encourages a personal connection to nature that regulates the body’s natural rhythms and makes us feel good. When we exercise outdoors, we walk differently, exercise longer, burn more calories, and boost our levels of vitamin H2 (our health and happiness vitamin).
Our blog post “Why Outdoors?” explores these benefits further, and offers advice for staying safe and sustainable. With summer about to enter full swing, we also have tips for embracing outdoor fitness during the warmer months.
You don’t even need to perform your most rigorous workouts outdoors to reap the benefits. A walk before breakfast, leisurely bike ride, or even fly fishing (which we’ve recently added to our activity roster) can improve your overall well-being.
Emphasize nourishing foods
Cooking is often a dad’s domain, especially when it comes to the grill. Expand your current repertoire to include seasonal fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and to experiment with new lean meats.
There are lots of nutritionally dense options readily available in many supermarkets. Salmon, shellfish and sardines are excellent choices in seafood, while ground bison and venison are good replacements for ground beef. For lean and extra lean cuts of beef, try top sirloin, top or bottom round roast/steak, sirloin tip side steak, or eye of round roast.
We know it can be daunting to make changes to your diet. Making a conscious effort to change your attitude of restriction into one of opportunity and abundance is incredibly helpful for making long-term changes to your lifestyle. Instead of thinking “I can’t have that” or “Those are bad foods”, ask “Which whole grain will pair well with this salmon?” or “Which herbs will make a good marinade for this steak?” This point of view helps keep your meals interesting, so you can enjoy yourself more.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
To all of the dads out there – and to everyone who plays the role of a dad – we encourage you to take this holiday as an opportunity to take care of yourself!