When is the right time to focus on your health?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Independence Day.  The 4th of July is a time to enjoy the big Fs: food, friends, family, fireworks – at least that’s the way it’s always been for me.  This year I’ve been thinking about the personal significance of this holiday, and the recent month that just passed including Father’s Day and Men’s Health Week.  For years, the 4th of July was the one holiday that my parents and I would host.  Every year we would say we wouldn’t do it again because it was so much work to get ready – but then we’d do it anyway because it was so much fun.  All the family would come, and some friends of ours who heard we had the best food, not to mention games and sometimes our own little fireworks demo.  The star of the show was unquestionably my dad, who loved to host these events.  He would make the melon boat, cook shish-kebobs on the grill, grind the homemade ice cream and dare any newcomers to challenge him at ping-pong.  It made him happy to have everyone there and to see them having fun. 

It’s funny when you think about it, we need a day set aside to celebrate the things that matter the most to us, not least of which is our freedom.  Kind of like Father’s Day, when we devote a tiny fraction of our year to pay tribute to the men who for many of us have helped to shape us into the people we are today.  Or Men’s Health Week, when we make a concentrated push to encourage men to take better care of themselves so that they can live longer, healthier lives. 

All of these occasions serve an important purpose, and I’m glad that we have them.  At the same time, I’d like to make the case that we should live each day as a celebration of the good things we have been blessed with, we should always find the time to thank the men (and women) who have made a difference in our lives, and we should at all times be looking for ways that we can improve our health. 

I know that for many people, and perhaps particularly for men, taking action related to our health is a huge challenge.  Changing your eating habits, following through on an exercise routine, making a long-needed visit to your doctor for a check-up – these are all inconvenient in the face of everything else we have going on in our daily lives.  But then, so is disease.  Men of all ages owe it to themselves and to those who love them to take a moment and analyze their health, then take some steps to get to where they want to be.  Maybe you already know the answers and just need to get started.  Or maybe you have a lot of questions and could use some advice.  In either case, I would encourage you to take a look at the resources available from the Men’s Health Network at https://www.menshealthnetwork.org/. 

The 4th of July has been very different for my family the last three years, since my dad died of a rare cancer with practically no warning, less than two months before his favorite holiday in 2007.  There are still the get-togethers and eating, and sometimes fireworks, but not at our old place anymore.  There’s a certain emptiness every time the 4th comes around, knowing that it won’t be the same again.  And Father’s Day brings up mixed emotions.  It is painful to not have my dad here to celebrate with, but I am passionately committed to making sure that is not the case for others my age. 

If you have been struggling with deciding when the time is right to take serious, positive action toward your health, or if you have been waiting for the moment when you don’t have anything else to do, please take this to heart: the time to start is now, and the day to be completely devoted to your health is every day.  If you believe it, you’ll have a lot of more holidays to celebrate.



Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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