basic needs

Hey Gents, Stop Ignoring Your Basic Needs

Health TipsJune 16, 2017

I’ve spent most of my adult life ignoring my body in order to press on and finish the task at hand, usually for work. Now, I’ve learned I need to listen to my body and take care of some basic needs. I’m trying to pay closer attention to my habits and make healthier choices.

So all I need is sleep, sex, and a sandwich…right? This might be true, but let’s modify it a little to create these five basic health tips. When in doubt, just remember the 5 S’s.

1. Sleep
Strive for at least seven hours a night. I am as guilty as the next guy on ignoring this very important basic need. But sleep really is vital for your mind and body. It gives you a clear mind and improves your mental health. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll have trouble making decisions, solving problems, and controlling your emotions.

When it comes your body – sleep heals your heart and blood vessels, decreases your risk for obesity, maintains your hormones, supports muscle growth and development, and keeps your immune systems strong. What more do you need to know?!

2. Steps
Guys, you may be doing some hard physical labor, but walking 20-30 minutes without stopping for aerobic activity is the key to improving your metabolism. If you want to be healthy, you have to be active.

Aerobic activity can extend your life in a number of ways. It reduces your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also strengthens your muscles and enhances your overall ability to work and move. You’ll look and feel better if you add a bit of extra physical activity to your day.

3. Silence
Take some time each day to relax. Don’t “save it up,” and wait to relax until vacation. I love that the Good Lord told us to “Be still, and know that I am God,” and to build rest into our weekly schedule.

Taking time to relax and reflect will calm your mind and give you a better sense of self. Meditation can also affect your physiology; it will benefit your heart, help with chronic pain, and reduce your anxiety.

4. Sex
(Research proves that sex is good for your heart and mental state. It can also lower your risk for prostate cancer, and it makes you look younger.)

(Spoiler alert!) There’s someone else involved in your life, and you’re going to have to put some effort into your relationship. My wife gave me a great tip on this: Try to compliment her on things she has accomplished. So instead of “You look good,” try “That dress you picked out really looks good on you tonight.” Compliments, gratitude and a sense of humor will go a long way toward your goal of having sex 500 times this year.

5. And a sandwich.
Okay, let’s make it a salad. If the only green thing you’ve eaten lately is an M&M, then it’s time to
start fueling your body right. You wouldn’t put low-grade gas in your car, but you don’t give your body’s engine the same consideration. You have to eat right in order to have the right amount of power. Having smaller, frequent and well-balanced meals six times a day will keep you fueled throughout the day. Make sure to incorporate whole grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.

So there you have it. These are the five things to pay attention to, so you can be as happy and healthy as possible. In 50 years, we won’t regret making changes and better choices today.

Dr. Mark Brown, D.O. is the Occupational Health Medical Director for Mercer Health and has been practicing in Mercer County for nearly 25 years in Family Practice.