By Monifa Maat “The Healthy Motivator” (www.TheHealthyMotivator.com)
CAN DO TIP Week #26 – Dads: Beat the drum of health!“I’m the greatest thing that ever lived! I’m the king of the world! I’m a bad man. I’m the prettiest thing that ever lived”. –Muhammad Ali
Growing up, I believed my father was Superman except instead of a red cape, he drove a red car for a while, and we kids nicknamed it the “red baron”. He also had the most beautiful speaking and singing voice I’ve ever heard –a cross between Barry White and Nat King Cole. I thought he could do anything –leap tall buildings in a single bound, bend steel with his bare hands (given his 6 foot, 2 inch, 200+ lb. frame), play conga drums like Baba Olatunje, box like Mohammad Ali and even cook the aprons off of chefs from Julia Childs to Emeril Lagassi. Yes, there was a time I thought my Dad could do anything –except leave us so soon.
This Sunday as we prepare to acknowledge and celebrate Father’s Day all across the nation, let us remember to urge the men in our lives –particularly men of color, who suffer disproportionately from almost every major preventative disease and whom statistics show are less likely to have routine medical checkups than any other population–to take charge of their health, for it is indeed their wealth.
No doubt factors contributing to this fact includes: the male psyche which naturally resists any signs of weakness, a lack of health insurance and social services that specifically target the wellness of black men and the general distrust factor that many black men justifiably feel as a result of historical practices in the medical establishment (such as infamous Tuskegee Experiments) that contributes to reluctance of many black men in seeking medical care, often until it’s too late.
Women – let’s encourage our men to not just “see a doctor”, but to partner with their doctor as an equal in developing a successful health strategy which will surely result in better outcomes. Adam C. Powell said it best: “what’s in your hands?” – and as my father beat the Djembe I’m going to keep beating Powell’s message every chance I get because the answer really is: our health is in our hands! It’s all about simple solutions we CAN DO to minimize what we won’t or can’t do based on a variety of circumstances.
A message for our men – we as women love you and want you present and active in our lives. Here’s what you CAN DO: find a low-moderate intensity exercise routine that you enjoy for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Even if you’re limited in mobility, chair exercise and even light movement exercises in bed can be a very effective strategy for gradually increasing mobility. Nutritious foods such as garlic, onions, green leafy cruciferous vegetables, and berries contain some of the strongest, cancer fighting, immune system building compounds on the market. Pumpkin seeds have been found to be important for prostate health and raw nuts are a very satisfying source of vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and excellent for your heart.
Finally to all Dads –have a Happy, Healthy Father’s Day!
Monifa Maat is a Community Health Advocate, Certified Fitness Expert and Author of Bed Aerobics Fitness Flow®, a faith-based, therapeutic bed exercise and mobility system. To reach Monifa Maat– Email: Monifa@TheHealthyMotivator.com. Visit www.TheHealthyMotivator.com.