(MURFREESBORO) Dads deserve more than a pair of dress socks this Father's Day. And while they might be perfectly satisfied with breakfast tacos in bed, Murfreesboro's St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital notes that the men in your life would benefit longer-term from a frank conversation about health.
The CDC reports that, over a two-year period, men are half as likely as women to visit a doctor. A study from Rutgers University found that, when men finally get a check-up, they are less likely than women to talk honestly about their problems. The Rutgers researchers theorized that men avoid these topics because society has conditioned males to see vulnerability as "unmanly."
Fortunately, there are signs that younger men are more comfortable talking about personal health than older generations. An AARP study discovered that almost half of male Millennials and Gen Xers have at least one person with whom they can talk vulnerably about health issues. Since only 29 percent of male baby boomers reported this level of comfort, perhaps they will be inspired by their sons and grandsons.
- Offer to join a recreational sports league with him. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion provides these suggestions for making physical activity less intimidating for him: make walks around the neighborhood a family routine, attend group fitness classes together, carpool to the gym, or join a recreational sports league together.
- Brainstorm a shared goal. Jointly running a 5K, hiking together at a state park, playing backyard football without getting winded--these are just a few of the inspiring fitness goals that you can invite him to create with you.
- Draw the connections to his other priorities. If he prioritizes making money over minding health, remind him that eating nutritious home-cooked meals instead of eating out will help his savings grow. If he has a favorite hobby, ask him to consider the fact that improving his health will afford him more years to develop that hobby.
- Offer to visit the doctor with him. While not everyone would appreciate having company on a doctor's visit, some men who are wary of checking in with a physician may feel more comfortable with a loved one in tow. Ask him if he'd like you to tag along.
- Ask how he's really doing. The CDC urges men to consider their mental and emotional health alongside their physical well being. If he is hesitant to open up about mental health issues, model vulnerable behavior by first sharing your own feelings. Brene Brown's 1-hour Netflix special "The Call to Courage" is one of many resources that may push him to consider the value in vulnerability.
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