Men’s Wellness: 4 Tips on Where to Get Started
Getting in shape and looking and feeling healthy is a lifestyle. It’s 2019 and now more than ever, people are putting their health and wellness first. From nature prescriptions to implementing workplace wellness programs, it’s exciting to see initiatives growing that are making it easier for more people to transform the way they live for the better.
Recent studies show, however, that men still have a long way to go in terms of prioritizing their health. An article in The Guardian mentions that according to the most recent US data, the average American man dies before the average American woman. And in societies where maternal mortality from childbirth has improved and birth control reduces family size, women consistently outlive men.
Shorter male lifespans may not be driven by genetics or biological factors, but instead the culture and attitudes around health. Male behaviours and attitudes, such as knowing when and how to seek the necessary help, can affect their own physical well-being. “Not only are men less likely to see a doctor,” the article continues, “they are also much less likely to seek psychological help. This is one of the main reasons why suicide rates, both intentional and unintentional from drug overdoses, remain much higher for men than women and continue to rise.”
Awareness and education is key in combating these issues and help close the gap in life spans between the sexes. Wellness and self-care isn’t only for women. It’s meant to be an inclusive movement — a way to take charge of caring for yourself so that you can be the best that you can be for other people while encouraging others to do the same.
It all begins with a micro-change — a positive step in the right direction, starting from your workplace and going from there. A study by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) found that 81% of Canadian men said their work was stressful, while 60% said their work was impacting the quality of their sleep. If you’re a part of that statistic, implement small changes in your work lifestyle that can bring you back to a more balanced level. According to Health Canada, high stress, poor sleep and eating habits increase the risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, and other mental illnesses, and can also affect the immune system by causing biochemical changes — in the end, it’s not worth it.
Here are a few ways to get you on the right path towards a healthier lifestyle.
1. Change Your Diet
Plant-based diets are all the rage right now — and for good reason. Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and other major illnesses. Many people also report feeling more fit, having more energy, a reduction in inflammation and other better health outcomes after making the switch. Plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for optimal health, and are often higher in fiber and phytonutrients. But you don’t have to go zero to a hundred when changing your diet. If you’ve been thinking of reducing your meat intake and opting for more plant-based meals, start simply by swapping workplace snacks and lunches with more colourful vegetables to fill half your plate. Experiment with new spices and unique veggie dishes every other night and see what you like. Change the way you think about meat — have smaller amounts and only purchase local meats, or create a rule for yourself where you only eat meat when you’re eating out. It’ll take time to get out of the habit of using meat as a centrepiece for your meals, but slow and steady wins the race.
2. Be More Active
Fitness and activity is crucial, but it doesn’t have to be the intense, heart-pumping type either. The yoga world is changing, with the number of men practicing the art (according to Yoga Journal, male practitioners had risen by 250 percent since 2012, which means men now make up nearly a third of the American yoga community). Apart from yoga being a great workout while cultivating strength and mobility, certain breathing exercises and meditation can greatly reduce stress and anxiety. It’s a perfect way to be more active, but you can also take the tools you learn on the mat and apply them to your work life when the going gets tough.
3. Seek Help When Necessary
This part is huge when it comes to self-care. Always check in with yourself, mentally and physically, and make your health needs a priority. And it’s okay to not know everything — start with the basics, like making those yearly doctor’s appointments and checkups. Ask your partner or a close friend you can confide in about any questions concerning your physical health, any ailments or even emotions you may be experiencing. Engage with a mental health professional if you need it — even if it’s just one introductory session to get your feet wet. Being mindful and truly listening to your body is key in being the best self you can be.
4. Use Natural-Based Products
The amount of chemical-based products, from skincare to household items that we use can be a bit alarming. It’s estimated that 60% of what you put on your body is absorbed into your skin — the result is daily exposure to potentially toxic chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, talc, and lead.
While men use fewer cosmetics and facial products than women, there are still harmful chemicals in things like shaving creams, hair products, and other personal care products that can do just as much damage over time.
The good news is there’s a wave of amazing entrepreneurs and new companies realizing this, and coming up with some of the best all-natural, feel-good products catered to men. Here are six of the most popular brands on our site featuring the best men’s personal care products:
New to the Vitarock store, Rebels Refinery is a natural skincare line for men, free from toxic sulfates and chemical ingredients, such as phthalates. Phthalates can be especially harmful to men, as they disrupt hormones, may affect fertility and can even be linked to cancer (according to the Rebels Refinery website, 1,4-dioxane has been classified as a probable human carcinogen and some artificial musks have been shown to disrupt hormones in animals). The Canadian-based brand boasts a “bad boy” style packaging, which houses skull-shaped, coconut and sweet almond oil lip balms and black organic oil bar soap, wrapped, strung and wax sealed by hand, appealing to the younger, health-conscious crowd.
Always Bearded continues to be one of our favourite personal care brands for men. Also made in Canada, Always Bearded has been a supporter of the stylish bearded community since 2014, creating handmade, high-quality products with all-natural ingredients. What we love about this brand is the education aspect — Always Bearded founder Sven Hansen did his research. Reports have shown the presence of carcinogens and harmful chemicals in men’s personal care products and that applying these chemicals on your body every day has been linked to “cancer, birth defects, sperm damage, obesity, asthma and other chronic health problems.” So Sven and his team sought out to create premium, natural products that did the opposite.
Not only are Always Bearded products safer for men’s health (and make beards oh so soft and dreamy), they come in sleek and stylish packaging. Our favourite on the site? This Beard Grooming Kit with Bergamot and Ylang with distilled Cedarwood — it smells amazing and has everything you need for proper beard grooming in one shot.
It may be called Every Man Jack, but it’s not your average bar of soap. Every Man Jack’s body bars have shea butter, organic aloe and naturally derived essential oils — no need for the harsh, overdrying chemical stuff. Apart from their natural soap bars, Every Man Jack also carries unique and moisturizing men’s care products, such as their mineral-rich Volcanic Clay Body Wash (with extracts of aloe, rosemary, and watercress) and Beard and Face Wash with coconut-derived natural ingredients. Sounds fancy, but all their products are actually incredibly affordable and accessible — a great brand to start your all-natural lifestyle journey.
Nova Scotia Fisherman products are handmade in Nova Scotia, Canada, created to help protect against the harshest weather conditions that Nova Scotia fishermen would actually encounter. Their skincare products are infused with nutrient-rich ingredients from the sea, such as raw Atlantic sea kelp, which has been proven to revitalize the skin and remove unwanted toxins, redness, and irritation. Natural, paraben-free, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, Nova Scotia Fisherman also believes in supporting their local communities and protecting the land that has shaped them, while ensuring its sustainability for future generations. A portion of all their skincare product sales goes towards the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Herban Cowboy was founded on humble beginnings, with only “a few thousand dollars in a log cabin on a dirt road with no internet and a questionable phone line.” Since then, they’ve been committed to creating natural men’s personal care products that are healthy, eco-friendly, vegan and cruelty-free — products that performed like conventional products but are healthier for humans and the environment.
True to the outdoors lifestyle, their branding and products in body washes, deodorant, shaving creams and even natural, vegan colognes feature scents like “Dusk” (lavender, bergamot, lemon peel, lime, clary sage and ylang-ylang) and “Forest” (lavender, geranium, black pepper, oakmoss and moss).
One of the best-selling all-natural brands out there today, you’ve most likely heard of Balm. A B Corporation since 2011, Badger Balm is a small giant of a company, still family-owned and run from rural Gilsum, New Hampshire. Badger products are popular for a reason — their formulas have worked wonders for the face, skin, hair… basically all over the body! Formulated with the finest organic ingredients available, Badger Balm products use plant extracts, natural oils, butters and beeswax to produce healing balms, lip balms, mineral sunscreens and more.
Though they make products for the entire family, including babies, their men’s grooming line is worth noting. USDA Certified Organic, cruelty-free and 100% natural, Badger Balm’s men’s products soothes, refreshes, restores and improves even the toughest skin and hair naturally. Facial-haired men can rejoice with Badger Balm’s amazing line of products for beards and mustaches, like their Badger Balm Beard Oil (rich in babassu and jojoba oils, plus other powerful antioxidants) and their Mustache Wax (with ingredients like carnauba wax, shea butter and beeswax for a nice hold and glossy shine).
The journey towards self-care and self-awareness is a life-long one. Use these tips and recommendations to embark on an exciting road towards a longer and more prosperous life.