Each year that I reach past the age of forty it becomes increasingly clearer to me: women aren’t the only ones who go through hormonal changes as they age. True, ours may not be as bad as theirs, but as men - we do need to concern ourselves with this process if we want to live longer, healthier & more fulfilling lives.
So our first step should be to listen to what our body says.
We both know that what you eat and how you move can make a HUGE improvement in some of the symptoms of low testosterone. Not to mention how common it is for us to lose muscle, energy, sexual drive and gain weight as we slowly creep our way into “old” manhood.
And there’s proof that eating better and moving more can help us stave off other issues like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
BUT - What do I specifically recommend to help you “eat better and move more”?
Seven things, actually – and here they are:
First - Hydrate:
Drink more water (and drinking more coffee or beer don’t count!).
The general consensus is to drink 8-10 glasses per day. And, if you don't feel you need that much you definitely need to at least drink enough throughout the day so that you're not thirsty.
I know what you’re going to say… “Well, HELL, John! That’ll just make me want to go to pee all the time!” Yes… Yes, it will – but only until your body adjusts to being adequately hydrated. After that, you should be able to fall back into a more “comfortable” schedule.
Try having a full glass first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
You can also keep a large bottle or mug beside you all day wherever you work so it's always easy to grab and have sips from throughout the day (just to make sure you're getting enough).
Second - Bump up your intake of whole plant foods:
Yes, things like, you guessed it - vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. We're going for quantity here. Try to including some variation of them in EVERY meal and even most (if not all) of your snacks.
Want another reason to eat more plants?
Plant-based diets are associated with healthier, stronger hearts. This is a BONUS – since men are more likely to die early due to heart disease than women!
Third - Don't forget high-quality protein:
While you're chomping your plant foods don't forget to include some good quality protein (and healthy fats) from eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds (and their butters).
With animal foods we're aiming for quality so try to get organic, wild, and/or pasture-raised if you can.
Fourth - Some things you want to cut back on:
Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and processed foods can have a tremendous impact on balancing your hormones naturally without the help of pharmaceutical medications.
With those increases in hydration, whole plant foods, and quality protein, you simply won't have as much room for alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods with added salt and sugar.
You already know that's good news, right?
Fifth – Move:
And I’m not talking about walking your meandering dog through the neighborhood either… With one exception; you’re currently sedentary… In that case, start with casual walks and gradually increase your intensity over time. Believe me, you will thank yourself!
If you are already walking, try introducing some weight-training.
And, you've heard the saying that the best exercise is the one you'll actually do?
Well, find it! Then go ahead and do it. :)
Sixth - Get enough sleep:
This one’s tough. Especially if you’re the stressed out type. Still, we optimally need about 7-9 hours per night. Seriously!
Sometimes aging (without added stress) can bring on (or ramp up) sleep problems, though.
The best defense on our case would be consistency. Set a daily routine where you're relaxing with no screen-time (computers, tablet, phone, tv) a couple hours before your bedtime.
Electronic devices emit strong blue light which can prevent the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone. Try reading a book or having a bath. It's also important to have dim lights in your surroundings to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed (by the way; regular indoor lighting is usually blue light).
Ideally you would use amber or red lights, or you could go the ultra-stylin' route and use blue-blocker sunglasses. LOL! (but if you do, be sure to send me a pic!)
Seventh - Find great stress relieving activities:
What’s important here is that you choose something that works for you. The second most important thing is that you make sure to do it regularly. Do so as a preventative measure to avoid accumulated stress.
Have you tried meditating, deep breathing, or having a hot water Epsom salt soak? What about deep tissue, sports massage -or- the newest craze of coloring?
Bonus points if you find ways to use exercise as a form of stress relief.
So, there ya go, my fellow old-er man… I have now given you an arsenal of great ideas to stave off those Man-O-Pause symptoms safely, naturally and with a whole lot more manly benefit than getting an injection or slathering some sticky t-gel prescription on your privates.
Caveat: Now, I am no doctor. Despite what the title suggests, don’t be a dummy and take this article to be the gospel truth over real medical advice… although these tips are proven to be beneficial for overall health (including hormonal), it is important that you speak with your doctor before making any significant changes to your routine AND to get an accurate read on your testosterone level in order to determine if, and at what amount, hormonal supplementation is needed.
So, be smart, see your Doc, and keep moving toward a better you!