With Father’s Day nearly here, now is a good time to focus on men’s health. This year, encourage the dads in your life to take some time to reflect on ways that they can become healthier in the coming year. Make this Father’s Day all about making healthy choices.

With Father’s Day nearly here, now is a good time to focus on men’s health. This year, encourage the dads in your life to take some time to reflect on ways that they can become healthier in the coming year. Make this Father’s Day all about making healthy choices.

Following are some ideas to get you started.

Healthy meals. If you can, make a healthy home-cooked meal for your Father’s Day celebration. Include lots of fruits and vegetables along with lean proteins. Gift ideas might be a new set of knives or other kitchen tools to make cooking more appealing. For the dad who loves to grill, how about a basket for grilling vegetables or fish? If he isn’t interested in cooking and you don’t have the time, check out meal kit subscriptions. These provide all the ingredients along with simple instructions for making healthy meals.

Activity. We need about two and a half hours of moderately intense activity plus some muscle-strengthening exercises each week to stay healthy and maintain muscle strength. Give Dad a fitness tracker to count his steps, a new pair of running or walking shoes, or a gym membership to help him get started. Get him lessons if there is a new sport or activity he’s been talking about trying.

Less stress. Stress can lead to poor health and an increased risk of disease. Unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as smoking and alcohol, come with their own health risks. Help Dad relax by getting him a hammock for a breezy afternoon nap or scheduling a massage. Take some of the load off by helping him out with any chores that have piled up around the house.

Be a workout buddy. Dad will be much more likely to get active if you are right there with him providing encouragement. Take a hike, go for a bike ride, play a game of Frisbee, or set up a basketball goal in the driveway. Make the activities a regular date, and everyone will benefit.

Get some sunshine. The majority of our vitamin D intake is produced by our body in response to exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D aids in muscle and bone heath to ensure strong bones as we age. If Dad doesn’t spend much time outside, he may need extra vitamin D foods or supplements. Take a walk, go for a boat ride, or relax in the sun for awhile. Just be sure to avoid sunburn. Let him sleep. Testosterone is made during sleep, so getting enough rest is essential to a man’s health. Six to eight hours a night is recommended.

Let him sleep in or take a nap on his day off. You might get him a new comfy pillow to make his sleep a little better.

Encourage fluids. Most men I know do not drink enough water. Proper hydration is important for healthy kidneys, digestion and skin health. A reusable water bottle might help Dad drink more water.

Schedule health screenings. If Dad hasn’t been to the doctor for a while, take it upon yourself to get a yearly checkup scheduled for him. Basic tests for cholesterol levels and blood pressure, plus diabetes and cancer screenings, are simple to do and should be routine for all men.

Help him quit smoking. If Dad smokes, give him help, encouragement and support to quit. Let him know Lake Regional Health System offers a free Commit to Quit support group (call 573-302-2253 for details). Smoking is the most preventable cause of disease, disability and death. The sooner he quits, the bigger the benefit.

Men, enjoy your day, but don’t forget to take care of your health, not just for yourself but also for all the people who care about you.