Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease are among the leading causes of death in American men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – and there’s no better time than now to start taking control of your health! Lifestyle can play an important role in men’s likelihood of developing chronic health problems, including hypertension and obesity or experiencing weight gain. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, physical activity, and regular doctor visits can all help you lead a healthier, happier life. Here are a few ways to start taking charge of your health. Watch your diet Avoid processed food, and focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Be sure to also stay away from foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars. Exercise regularly A good workout doesn’t have to last an hour or take place at the trendiest workout spot. The same benefit of a longer bout of moderate-intensity physical activity can be gained in a shorter amount of time by increasing the intensity to vigorous. Breaking up workouts into bouts as short as 10 minutes in length has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness and some risk factors of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Exercise also tones up your heart, circulation, and muscles, strengthens bones, boosts brain function, improves mood, and can help prevent and ease depression and anxiety. If you exercise with others, you also get social benefits that can help boost your mood. Maintain a healthy weight Everyone has their own ideal weight, but once you find a healthy balance with your doctor, maintain it by balancing the number of calories from food with the calories you burn. If you find yourself gradually gaining weight again, try portion control, keep a food journal, and increase your physical activity. Keep drinking to a minimum Check with your healthcare provider to make sure that drinking alcohol — in light to moderate amounts — is alright for you. For older men, moderate drinking means no more than 3 drinks on a given day or 7 drinks total in a week. If you have a health problem or take certain medications, you may need to drink less or not at all. Maintain your sexual health High blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol can cause vascular problems that lead to ED and other erectile issues. It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain your sexual health – avoiding high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol as well as heart disease may lessen the frequency of erection issues. Fortunately, there are several non-invasive and safe options available to help improve sexual health; including vacuum pumps, penile exercises, and medications. Visit your doctor regularly Choose a doctor with whom you feel comfortable sharing your health concerns and who can facilitate needed lifestyle changes to improve your health. Be sure to also keep up with your yearly checkups.