It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone, yet here we are, planning resolutions for 2023. What will your health resolutions be? We have some suggestions for improving your health over the course of the next year.
First, consider this: most resolutions are likely to fail, because there’s no real plan behind them or strategy for success. To succeed, we must break old habits and form new ones, and this is difficult to do. The first step is setting goals, but to succeed, you need to set the right goals. Look at your lifestyle and habits honestly, noting how they impact your health so that you can know what needs to be modified. Make your goals realistic, set up an environment that will help you succeed, and track your progress, giving yourself credit for everything you do right along the way.
- Pledge to get more exercise. This doesn’t mean you should invest in a gym membership or buy expensive equipment for your home gym. If you’re sedentary, it’s enough to work regular physical activity into your everyday life. Not that there’s anything wrong with the gym, and if that works for you, go for it. Find exercise that you enjoy and do it consistently, not just to lose weight, but to promote your overall health.
- Cut back on your substance use. Quitting harmful substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. This may require external help to break your addiction and detoxify your body, but as soon as you quit smoking or reduce your drinking, your health will begin to improve.
- Prioritize sleep. If you’re like a lot of people, you work long hours and don’t get enough sleep. You may not realize it, but your sleep deprivation is taking a toll on your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of many different health issues, from heart disease to depression. Make quantity and quality sleep a priority this year, and you’ll feel better and be more productive.
- A nutritious diet is essential for a healthy life. Fill yours with fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods, along with lean proteins like chicken and fish, and you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
- Men have particular health needs to address. There are certain diseases that disproportionately affect men, like cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, alcoholism, and skin cancer. The primary cancers that affect men are prostate cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk for these diseases, and how to make lifestyle changes that will reduce those risks.
- Routine screenings are important. Preventing disease is much more effective than treating it. Make sure you get the right screenings, including general screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol. Go further, though, asking your doctor about screenings for cancer, contagious diseases, and mental health issues. While you’re at it, make sure you’re up to date on your vaccines, including the vaccines for tetanus, shingles, and pneumonia.
- Make mental health a priority. Men are less likely to seek help for mental health disorders than women, even though they’re just as likely to experience them. Talk to your doctor if you’re feeling anxious or depressed, and in the meantime, try these tips for protecting your mental health:
- Let the little things go.
- Don’t compare yourself with others.
- Set healthy boundaries.
- Keep your mind and body active.
- Step away from social media when it begins to affect you adversely.
- Don’t be afraid to seek help.
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we care about men’s health. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Why do men freeze their sperm? There are, of course, sperm banks where men can donate sperm to childless couples. This sperm is frozen and kept until it’s needed, but that’s certainly not the only reason for freezing sperm. Men who have been diagnosed with cancer may bank their sperm if their treatment plan is likely to cause infertility. Similarly, men who are undergoing surgery or treatment that could impact their chances of conceiving a child might want to freeze their sperm, and so might men with hazardous jobs. Most commonly, though, couples decide to freeze sperm- and eggs- because they want to wait a little while to grow their families. If you fall into any of these categories, and are considering freezing your sperm, here’s what you need to know.
- Sperm-freezing, also known as semen cryopreservation, is simpler and less invasive than freezing eggs. In fact, while most samples are collected at the fertility clinic, there are home kits available for men who don’t feel comfortable in a clinical setting. Men with low sperm counts are encouraged to freeze a sample ahead of IVF, in case their fresh sample does not contain sperm when it’s time to perform the procedure.
- The cost of freezing sperm varies and is dependent on several different factors. The price includes the entire process, from collection through storage, and varies based on location, individual clinic, and insurance. Typically, it costs anywhere from $250 to $1,000. However, if you intend to store your sample for a long time, the storage costs can really add up. Then, too, there are medical shipping costs to move the sperm from the place where they’re stored to the place where they’ll be used. It’s smart to have a plan in place before you get started, and work with a fertility clinic.
- Some men are better candidates for sperm freezing than others. Healthy people can bank sperm. In fact, even children who have been diagnosed with cancer can bank sperm, for the sake of future fertility. Men who are undergoing chemotherapy should not bank their sperm, and men who have no sperm in their semen won’t be able to, either.
- A doctor has to make the request to bank your sperm. The choice to freeze sperm is a personal one, and one you’ll need to discuss with your doctor. Testing will be required, to screen for sexually transmitted diseases as well as assessing the sperm quality.
- Sperm freezing is low risk. There are no risks to the men themselves, but there is a risk that when the sample is frozen, it may not actually contain sperm. Freezing doesn’t damage sperm, and there’s no increased risk of birth defects for children conceived with frozen sperm. Sperm freezing has been done since 1953, and it’s a very effective method of preserving fertility.
- Men who want to hold off on fatherhood should bank their sperm. Men can father children late in life, so they don’t have the same biological urgency as women to conceive in a certain time frame. However, the risk of certain conditions, including autism, increases when a man passes age 50, so if he’s planning to conceive after that, it’s better to preserve the sperm in advance.
- Semen has no expiration date. Theoretically, sperm can be frozen forever, as long as it’s stored correctly. Sperm that has been frozen for 20 years has still been used to successfully conceive a child.
- Here’s how the process works. Before the appointment, you’ll be asked to abstain from sexual activity for two or three days. Once you get to the clinic, there’s paperwork and bloodwork, and then the sample is collected. Freshness impacts fertility, so it’s best to collect it at the clinic. Once the sample is in the cup, the sperm is analyzed for quantity, shape, and movement, to determine whether more samples are necessary. The sample is divided into different vials and frozen by an experienced lab technician trained to protect the sperm cells with cryoprotectant agents.
Many men freeze sperm before undergoing a vasectomy, but if that wasn’t the case for you, there’s still hope. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
It’s the holiday season, and that means plenty of opportunities for feasting. It doesn’t matter, because the foods you eat at the holidays don’t count, right? Well, not so fast. Research indicates that weight gained over the holidays tends to stick around, and a 2013 study showed that people gain about two pounds on average during this festive time of year, along with increasing their body fat, blood pressure, and heart rate. So, does that mean you have to forego the holiday meals and sit dolefully eating steamed veggies all season? No, but there are a few favorites that you might want to skip.
- We have some bad news about eggnog. Packed with sugar, eggs, and cream, it’s full of calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat. In fact, drinking a cup of eggnog is approximately the nutritional equivalent of eating two glazed donuts. What’s more, homemade eggnog often contains raw eggs, which can be a health hazard. Does this mean you should only drink water all season? Water is great for your body, but if you want something a little more festive, hot cocoa is a good egg-nog alternative. Not only can it be made to have far fewer calories and much less fat, using unsweetened cocoa, low-fat milk, and minimal sugar, but hot cocoa contains flavanols, a type of antioxidant that can improve blood vessel function. One study even found that cocoa boosts blood circulation in the brain and may even enhance cognitive function.
- Pecan pie and mincemeat pie are definitely on the naughty list. Because pecan pie is made with karo syrup and sugar, this sweet treat weighs in at about 500 calories, 27 grams of fat, and 15 teaspoons of sugar in a single slice. Mincemeat pie is made of sugar, butter, shortening, and eggs, and has almost as many calories and as much fat and sugar as pecan pie. Want some better options? Oatmeal raisin cookies have the flavor of mincemeat for far less nutritional cost, and gingerbread is a great option because lower fat and calorie content than many cookies. It contains molasses, too, which means it’s a good source of iron. Pumpkin pie is also a more nutritious sweet. Full of beta carotene, it also has half your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A.
- Stuffing and potatoes can be good or bad, depending on how they’re prepared. When stuffing is prepared with butter and turkey fat, it’s high in fat and calories. Made with vegetables and stock, baked outside the bird instead of inside it, it becomes a healthier option. Potatoes made with butter and cream or smothered in gravy are also a poor choice, but if you make your mashed potatoes with milk or non-fat Greek yogurt, or you roast them and sprinkle them with rosemary, you’ll reap the benefits of the potatoes themselves. Potatoes are low calorie, low carb, and full of nutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are also packed with nutrition, with vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and fiber, and they don’t need sugar, butter, and marshmallows to make them flavorful and delicious.
- Skip the prime rib if you’re trying to make your holiday table healthful. The reason prime rib is so succulent is that it comes from the fattiest part of the cow. If your holiday traditions call for beef, you’re better off with a leaner cut like sirloin.
- Turkey is a holiday tradition worth keeping. Without the skin, a four-ounce serving of turkey breast only contains 168 calories and two grams of fat! It also has plenty of protein, along with vitamins B3, B6, and B12, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, choline, magnesium, and potassium.
- There are other holiday favorites worth the indulgence, as well. Cranberries are powerhouses of nutrition, boasting healthy amounts of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, and plant compounds known as polyphenols, which can help the body process glucose. Commercial cranberry sauces are full of sugar, but you can cut back if you’re making it at home, or replace it with fruit juice. Nuts, especially chestnuts, are healthy holiday fare, and shrimp cocktail is a festive appetizer that’s low in fat and calories and high in nutritional value.
A healthy lifestyle means packing your plate with nutritious foods, and a healthy diet can help promote a healthy pregnancy. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people start families with healthy pregnancies. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
All the traits we want to instill in our children, generosity is among the most important. When your little one is yelling “mine” and snatching a toy away from a friend, this may seem like an insurmountable task. Children will surprise you, however, and a little guidance will nudge your children toward giving, and may reveal their true, empathetic, generous nature. Parents tend to think about this a lot around the holiday season, but really, it’s the example you set all year long that teaches your children the spirit of giving. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Start in your neighborhood. Build good relationships with your neighbors, and teach your kids to pay attention and notice when someone needs help. This could mean mowing an elderly neighbor’s lawn, helping a military family while the servicemember is away, or bringing a casserole to a neighbor who is sick. Even little kids can help with simple chores and yard work when a neighbor needs assistance.
- Make it personal. Let your child choose a toy from the toy store to put in the donation box. “Adopt” a child or family to shop for during the holidays, and let your children help choose the gifts you give. get your kids to clean out their toy collections and donate to people in need.
- Create giving traditions. Serve dinner as a family at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Attend volunteer events at your church or spiritual center, where people work together to clean up a rundown property, repair someone’s home, or pack lunches for needy schoolkids. Remember, giving doesn’t always mean “stuff.” Take your kids caroling at a nursing home once a year to spread holiday cheer.
- Bring them along. Whether you’re donating your money, your goods, or your time, involve your children. Volunteer at their school, take them with you when you shop for items to donate or drop things off at a shelter, and let them see you drop change in the donation jar at the store or put a check into the offering plate. Let them know why you believe giving is important, and they’re likely to follow your lead.
- Model kindness. Open the door for a stranger. Give up your seat on the bus. Smile at the world around you, help when you see a need, and listen to the stories people want to tell. Look for ways to be kind to the people around you, and your kids will notice.
- Give kids opportunities to be generous. Find opportunities throughout the year to let your kids give something that matters. If you have an animal lover, visit the local shelter to donate pet supplies or take a lonely dog for a walk. When you shop for school supplies, buy some extra and donate them to the school. Keep granola bars and bottled water in your car to give to homeless people. A big part of teaching kids to be generous it’s just showing them how to open their eyes to the world around them and notice people who need help.
When you instill in your children the spirit of giving, you’re helping to make the world a better place, now and in the future. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love making the world better by helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
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