Good health for men isn’t always about what you eat, how many miles you run, or how low your cholesterol is. Yes, you can manage health risk through diet and exercise but you also need to manage risk through smart decisions about the activities you’re involved in. Just ask my brother.
My brother is a handyman extraordinaire. From small engine repair to plumbing to carpentry to landscaping, he can pretty much do it all. He acquired these skills through a lifetime of work as a carpenter and construction manager. The only trouble is that at 43, he still attacks his work with the same intensity that he had at 23. That generally sounds like a good thing but it proved problematic about a year and a half ago.
He was working on a house and had to be up on a ladder about fifteen feet above a paved driveway. Using the kind of haste he used 20 years ago caused him to lose his balance, and the ladder swept out from under him, leaving him nowhere to go but down. When all was said and done, he had a dentist’s bill for six broken teeth and was looking for an experienced orthopedic surgeon in Richmond to repair damage to his knee and both arms. He has had a couple of surgeries since and is still out of work and in therapy (although still in good spirits, I’m happy to report).
So here’s the thing: even though we might still feel like young men at heart, it’s important to remember that we don’t heal as fast and as well as we used to. A little extra caution can go a long way toward good health.
Stress is one of those unnamed shadowy characters that can sneak up and kill you if you do not take the time to remove it from your life. We used to play baseball on the field to unknowingly get rid of it during our teenage years. We joined a gym in our 20s. By our 30s, we were lucky if we could get to work on time, dinner on time, and to bed on time. Our 40s were pretty much more of the same.
So when I turned 50, I realized my knees may not appreciate me for joining a pick-up game or renewing that gym membership. So, instead of trying to beat stress, I decided to outrun it. I got a motorcycle.
Riding down an open road is my way to unwind. There is something liberating about taking the bike for a 150-mile loop and not worry about it hitting my wallet very hard in the gas tank. It’s therapeutic, and I know my wife likes me a lot better when I get home from a lengthy drive.
It wasn’t a hard hobby to pick up. I bought the bike used at a motorcycle shop in Chesterfield VA, just south of Richmond. I bundled the motorcycle insurance with auto insurance, which was a great discount. I knew it would be a cheaper premium because these guys know what they are doing and never stressed me out. I got the license and took the DMV course, and before anyone could say heart disease, I went for a long ride down the winding back roads in Virginia.
I cannot tell you how different life is since I’ve learned to unwind a little. The motorcycle was the answer for me to beat back the stress killer. What can you do to kill the stress beast in your life?
There are times that I miss the jobs I’ve had that were labor intensive. There’s something timeless about being a man and toiling out in the sun, lifting heavy objects, and wiping the sweat off your brow. I built houses for 10 years before making the decision to go back to school for architectural engineering. It was a late start, but it made me understand the material better than I would if I was just some 20 year old student that hadn’t touched a hammer before in his life. I loved getting to keep build muscle while I worked, but I knew a day would come when enough small injuries would catch up with me. An aging man can’t carry lumber around all the days of his life. Plus, being able to draw up building plans would provide me financial stability for my later years, not to mention the ability to work inside during the freezing winter months in Long Island, New York.
Another perk has been being able to do my own replacement windows for my house. I have some friends with Long Island Anderson Windows, so they put the windows together, and we installed them in one day. The previous double hung windows had a farmhouse grille with two vertical bars that met a horizontal bar in the center of the window. I have wanted to upgrade to a more modern look for some time now. The colonial style grille on a double hung window isn’t anything too flashy, but with the right colors, they add a splash of subtle class to an otherwise outdated look. If you choose to also use Anderson windows, you will find that they last significantly longer than vinyl windows.
Don’t think for a second that I’m letting my health slip while I’m drawing away at my desk. I’m still at the gym or on the job site helping with construction at least 5 times a week.
Peanuts in the shell are a delicious snack at the ballpark, at the track, in a steakhouse, or anywhere. They are traditionally boiled in salt water for hours to produce the desired texture. Of course, be prepared to enjoy these tasty treats outdoors because can be messy with so many shells to discard.
In fact, using a technique that my father taught me, I had learned how to extract the peanut and any water from the shell into my mouth like it was oyster on the half shell. I don’t know which I enjoyed more – separating the peanut from the shell or hocking the shell once it was judiciously emptied.
I guess I was having too much fun talking about drivers that I bit down too hard on the shell. I heard an additional pop and instantly knew I had just broken my dental crown on one of the molars in my mouth. I immediately dialed up my family dentist in Richmond, VA for an appointment.
They were able to help me. After a thorough examination, my dentist told me that I would need multiple restorations. It appeared that my oral health wasn’t as healthy as I thought it was. However, they were able to make me comfortable because they also offered sedation dentistry. The results were amazing.
I had my smile back in no time. In fact, I was back to enjoying hot boiled peanuts in the shell at my family reunion. I even learned that you can use a crock pot to take green (referring not to its color, but that it is actually uncooked) peanuts and boil them on high for several hours using Kosher salt. A friend of mine uses sel gris from France to add flavor, but I prefer to keep my recipe simple.
If you are like most people you have probably had a few business ideas in your lifetime. In fact many people think about this in great detail and consider starting their own company even though it is rarer that one is a success. No matter what field you are trying to get into, it takes a lot o hard work and dedication to start a business on your own. In fact, most people get a lot of help in addition to the long hours they put in. There is a lot of outside help out there for starting and running a business that the average person is not aware of.
A couple of years ago I was offered an opportunity to invest in a health, nutrition and fitness franchise that sold energy bars and energy drinks. At first I was a bit skeptical because I really didn’t understand how a franchise worked at the time. Basically you own a location of a business under the same name, think of one McDonalds location that is privately owned and operated. You get your supplies from the corporate suppliers and the franchise will help you sell and market the products. In exchange, you pay royalties to the franchise, either as a flat fee or as a percentage of sales.
I decided not to invest in the health and nutrition franchise simply because I had a lot of other things going on at the time. I have to admit that I was almost sold when they had me try out the energy bars and drinks and explained why they were different from all the rest. I was skeptical because I felt that any company could make a claim line that. Also, it seemed like there was so much competition on the market I was not sure how I was going to sell and promote them. Maybe one day I will get back into it and try a difference franchise opportunity.
As you grow older, your body can be compared to an aging automobile. Little things tend to break down and sometimes you feel like you’re falling apart, incrementally. Before you know it, you have a list of ailments that you have just accommodated into your life. “Oh yeah, my left ankle is usually sore because of that sprain in my early thirties.” Or, “My right knee pops because of that basketball game with the teenagers when I was 42.” We all have things like that, and just like a car, the best way to keep more of them from popping up is to be observant and really listen to what your body tells you.
Taking care of ourselves through diet and exercise is just like the maintenance of an automobile: you need to check tire pressure and fluid levels, and make sure you’re feeding it the right gasoline. As with a car, it also helps to know how to fix things. For example, even though we can’t perform it on ourselves, proper knowledge of CPR can be a lifesaver. After all, not only we are getting older but our wives and friends are, as well. It’s a small time investment and classes are easy enough to find. I found CPR training classes in Richmond, VA with a simple search online.
Unlike a car, we have the body we have, and although we can replace some body parts if necessary, there’s no buying a new one when the one you have wears out.
People decide to have new replacement windows installed in their homes for a lot of different reasons. Older windows are a lot less energy efficient than newer windows and is one of the main reasons for the choice to make this investment. Part of the reason is that older windows deteriorate over time. Newer materials are also better at insulating and can fit the window frame better. Nobody wants a draft running through their house at all times and worse yet are the high energy bills associated with trying to keep a comfortable indoor temperature. Sticky windows that are hard to open are another common problem that homeowners have to deal with. One of the big reasons for me was to block out noise from the outside like the sound of cars passing by.
Choosing the Right Window Replacement for my Virginia Home
When they have the money, many people even decide to have window replacements installed simply for a stylish update to their homes. When I went to look for vinyl replacement windows in Richmond Virginia, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for exactly at first. I decided to do a little bit of research on my own and then ask around about who was a reliable contractor in my area of Virginia. I was glad when a couple neighbors and family members were able to share their experiences with construction work and home improvement contractors in the area so I had a good idea who to call.
One of the things I had a hard time with was choosing a material for my windows. As it turns out, replacement windows come in many different options like wood, metal, and vinyl. There are also all sorts of different high tech choices popping up from different manufacturers. For me, I wanted something solid, with a classic look to it that would have good insulation properties. That’s why I decided to go with vinyl replacement windows for my home.
I promised my friend that I would help her move from her second-story apartment building, but I had no idea that it would be such a challenge. She had a huge wrap-around couch that she had inherited from a roommate. She also had a king size bed that was a struggle to move from the bedroom into the living room. It was a lot of big stuff to maneuver around in a small space. We were handling the heavy stuff pretty easily – until we hit the stairs. I missed a step and fell awkwardly onto the landing. Of course, I was still holding on to the couch and was trying to make sure it didn’t crush my skull.
It was bad. I knew something had gone wrong as soon as I tried to move. The shooting pain went down my leg and I couldn’t feel the toes on my left foot. Of course, I had to be macho man and pretend I was fine. We packed it into the moving truck and she had more friends show up. I told her I had to leave for another appointment. I went home to rest my back, but it was worse the next day. I went online and searched for a back surgeon in Richmond.
The staff nurse was awesome and the doctor immediately saw me for an examination. He asked so many questions and was attentive. It’s not always easy to describe where and how bad the back pain was, but you could tell that he was able to follow my non-verbal reaction. After all the tests were completed, we fully discussed all of the options for a herniated disc. Because of my active job, back surgery called microdiscectomy was the best alternative.
I went ahead and had my doctor complete the surgery. It was the best decision. The post-op care was as attentive as the first appointment. I truly felt cared for and that the staff and doctor truly wanted me to feel healthy and strong again. I will continue to follow their walking advice to get stronger each day.