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9 Tips for Building Healthy Habits as a Triton Dad

Father Holding Twins

The old adage is true and should be kept in mind at all ages, especially as men get older. Too often,
men shrug off visiting a doctor or going for a routine physical exam or lab tests. However,
preventative healthcare becomes increasingly important as we age, and its value goes up as well. For
example, most people are well aware that catching problems like cancer early greatly increases the

chances of survival and recovery. The same logic holds true for a whole host of physical ailments
and conditions. If nothing else, regular doctor visits, check-ups, and lab tests will help you to
monitor your health and enable you to make good choices, maximizing the quality and quantity of
life you enjoy in the years to come.

It doesn’t matter if you spent your 20s and 30s living on fast food, chips, Twinkies, energy drinks,
and whatever you could find in the vending machine at the office. It’s never too late to start
adopting healthy eating habits or a well-rounded, healthy diet. These days, most experts advise a
diet modeled on the Mediterranean diet – high in vegetables and whole grains, along with lean
proteins, and low in carbs, processed foods, and utilizing only good fats – is the best approach for
long-term health, weight loss or maintenance, and minimizing your risks for developing a range of
health issues in later life. Ensuring you get sufficient vitamins and minerals from your diet is also
very important for overall physical health and brain function, so a balanced diet is critical in this
respect as well.

Working hard and focusing on your career, dealing with family life, and all the other responsibilities
that most men over 40 encounters can be very stressful. Add to that money or financial troubles,
relationship problems, and any pre-existing health conditions, and you have a time bomb of stress
that can degrade your physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. Men over 40 are at an
increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks, and cardiovascular problems. Stress can cause
long-term damage to the way your brain and hormonal systems work as well. Therefore, it’s
important to take active measures to de-stress in your life – meditation, mindfulness, time to
yourself every week, therapy, and medications are all viable options to deal with stress and prevent it
from getting the better of you as you age.

Addiction can be a hard thing to overcome, but as we age, it’s more important than ever to try to
eliminate unhealthy habits and addictions. The cumulative effects of alcoholism and cigarette
smoking on your body will increase your risks for many, often deadly, diseases, and conditions.
Both have been shown to shorten the lifespan of adult males significantly. The good news is that
even if you’ve smoked or binge drank for years, much of the damage is reversible. The earlier you
quit these unhealthy vices, the more recovery your body can generally achieve, and the less lasting
negative impact they will have on your body.

It may seem fairly basic, but the best habits and advice often take on that character. Exercise is
important at all ages and is increasingly important as you get older. Maintaining muscle mass,
strength, endurance, and cardiovascular function through exercise will help your body be at its best
to deal with whatever changes or problems you may encounter. Addressing flexibility and range of
motion will help stave off many of the problems that are characteristically found in older adults,
such as arthritis, back pain, joint pain, and so on. Most adults over age 40 should get between 150
to 200 minutes of exercise per week, or around 30 minutes per day. Running or walking, cycling,

going to the gym, swimming, stretching, yoga, and more are all great options for workout routines to
stay fit and active.

Too often, men avoid addressing mental health concerns or problems. It’s still seen as somewhat
stigmatized in popular culture and society as a whole. However, dealing with mental health issues,
and maintaining positive mental health and well-being, is a critical part of remaining healthy as you
age. Don’t be afraid to seek out counseling, therapy, or medication-based treatments for mental
health disorders, and make efforts to monitor and maximize your mental health. It does you no
good to be physically healthy but mentally miserable!

Around age 40 or shortly thereafter, many people can start to experience vision problems, even if
they didn’t have them in earlier life. The various tissues of the eye can start to show the strain of 4
decades of use. Along with hormonal and tissue changes throughout the body, this can mean that
your eyes are no longer as effective at focusing or as resilient as they were in your younger years.
Glasses, contacts, or various treatments may be required for the first time, or stronger interventions
if you already have glasses or contacts. Likewise, problems like glaucoma and cataracts become
increasingly more likely the older you get. Therefore, regular vision check-ups and taking corrective
actions for any vision problems are a big part of staying healthy after 40.

As with vision discussed above, oral health is another area that people tend to segment or isolate and
not consider as part of their overall health. Men age 40 and over, like women of the same age, are at
an increased risk for developing receding gums or gum disease and may have significant wear and
tear on their teeth, jaw, and related structures. Regular dental visits and treatments for problems will
help ensure your teeth and mouth remain as healthy as possible, and that you don’t need dentures or
implants by middle-age.

Finally, it’s important to ensure that you still make an ongoing investment in your social
relationships as you age. Friendships are often the first casualty of the busy schedule, growing
family, and burgeoning career. However, an active social support network of friends and family has
been shown in study after study to be crucial to remaining healthy, active, and happy as an aging
adult. Make an effort to maintain your core group of friends, meet new people and become friends,
and stay engaged with family and co-workers. It will help you with emotional and mental health,
and make life far more enjoyable and worth living!

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