Men’s Health Week: Cheap everyday changes to help get you healthy

This year, Men’s Health Week falls between the 10th and 16th June. This week aims to bring awareness to men’s and boy’s health and wellbeing to help tackle the high rates of premature deaths in men across the UK.

This year the Men’s Health Forum is exploring men’s health through numbers, creating a Man MOT Manual to lay out men’s health statistics and what men need to do to improve their health in a clear, transparent and honest way. For example, did you know one man in five dies before the age of 65? 75% of premature deaths from heart disease are male, while 67% of men are overweight or obese. Men’s Health Week is trying to tackle these worrying numbers head-on with these seven numbers every man needs to know:

■     37 - Get your waistline below 37 inches to decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

■     150- You should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

■     5 - Aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg every day.

■     14 - Drink a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week (in other words, four and a half pints or large glasses of wine).

■     10 - Smokers die an average of 10 years younger than non-smokers.

■     120/80 - This represents normal blood pressure.

■     75 - 75%, or three in four, suicides involve men.

To help you get healthier and pass your health MOT, Muscle Food has teamed up with the fundraising, money-saving platform Savoofor Men’s Health Week to bring you a few small, cheap every day changes you can make which will help get you healthier while pinching those pennies.

Plus, from the 1st to the 16th June, use one of Savoo’s great Muscle Food voucher codes to save on your healthy, pre-prepped meals, you’ll be donating to Orchid, the men’s cancer charity, without spending an extra penny. So without further ado, here are a few easy, budget-friendly ways to get healthier.

  1. Drink more water

It may sound obvious, but it’s something all too many of us forget. It’s recommended that we drink six to eight glasses of water a day, which comes to around two litres. All too often we swap out water for coffee, tea, juice and fizzy drinks, but when it comes to hydration, good old fashioned water is best (and miles cheaper!)

Invest in a bottle which helps you keep track of how much you’re drinking each day to stay on track. Not only will this help improve your energy levels and brain function, but you’ll be less likely to snack on sugary treats because you’ll feel more full. Some studies have even shown that drinking more water can boost your metabolism, meaning you could lose weight faster. Not bad for a free drink.

2.  Shake up your coffee routine

Don’t worry, you don’t have to completely give up your caffeine fix. Thankfully, there are easy ways to shake up your coffee routine to be healthier and cheaper. For example, why not start drinking your coffee black to cut down on calories, or swap it for something healthier like green tea?

There’s no need to give up caffeine completely, but limit your daily intake to one a day rather than your usual two or three. It’s also worth bringing coffee or tea bags from home to avoid the pricey trips to your local coffee house every day, not to mention the muffin you always end up treating yourself to. In fact, The Metro estimated that buying a takeaway coffee every weekday costs an average of £519 a year, When you put it that way, waking up an extra 10 minutes earlier and investing in a good quality cafetiere or some tea bags doesn’t sound so bad…

Morning coffee

3. Walk or cycle more

Here’s an easy rule - if you can walk it, walk it. No more quick car journeys or quickie bus rides - if it’s not too far then get some comfy shoes on and get walking. Not only will you save in fuel and transport fees, but you’ll feel the positive effects on your health in no time. Little changes like walking or taking the stairs rather than the lift will help you hit your 150 minutes a day without even noticing.

Or, if your trip to work is too far to walk, why not hop on your bike and cycle? This exercise will increase the level of endorphins in your body, helping you to feel happier and more relaxed, making cycling and regular exercise better for both your physical and mental health.

Avoid annoying traffic jams and packed, rush-hour buses in exchange for a work out to start your day. Although you’ll have to pay for the bike, this will still be far cheaper than public transport or driving to work when you take into account fuel and insurance costs.

Plus, it’s worth checking if your employer is part of a Cycle to Work scheme which could save you up to 39% on your bike. Watch your bank balance grow as your waistline shrinks. Even if it’s just getting off a stop early and walking the last leg home, every small change will help you on your way to a healthier, longer life.

Hiking man in green field

4. Cook at home

Avoid those takeaways and salty ready meals and get out your pots and pans. According to the Office of National Statistics, an average UK household spends about 34% off their food budget on eating out, or over £1,000 a year, or £30 a week on food outside the home. Cut down these expenses by cooking at home, and delete that takeaway app to avoid temptation!

Not only will this help you cut down on fat and salt, but it means you can batch cook so you have healthy meals ready for the week ahead to help avoid the temptation of a cheeky Friday takeaway. Savoo have even put together a list of healthy “fakeaways” you can make at home to satisfy your junk food cravings on a budget.

Or, if you haven’t already, give some of Muscle Food’s healthy ready-meals a try. Made from only the best, fresh ingredients, these make it easy to stay healthy, even when you’re feeling lazy.

5. Fill up on veggies

A bit of meat can be great for you - chicken breast and fish is packed with protein and omega-3. That said, eating meat every day can take a toll on your bank balance as well as your health. Swapping to a plant-based diet, or at least cutting down on red meat could decrease your risk of cancer, lower your cholesterol and help you lose weight, as well as save you money.

Swap the meat for delicious beans and other healthy, veggie alternatives. Even if you don’t want to go full veggie, why not try a veggie day, veggie lunches or be veggie on weekdays to stick to your food budget and get your five a day.

6. Portion control

If you don’t fancy a hardcore diet, why not try eating the same thing but in smaller portions. We all have a habit of eating however much is put in front of us, even if we’re not actually hungry anymore. Try using a smaller plate and put the rest in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. This will save you on money as your food will last longer and helps you lose weight.

Or make your life easier by trying Muscle Food’s prepared meals to make sure you’re cooking the right portion size for you from fresh, delicious ingredients. From fresh Thai green curry to low-fat pizza, you can have it all without the guilt.

7. Download free apps

Keep yourself on track with handy free apps. From a pedometer to make sure you hit your daily 10,000 steps to calorie counters to keep an eye on your diet and progress, there are tons of apps you can keep in the palm of your hand, and all for free.

Try apps like MyFitnessPalto immediately find out how many calories and what nutrients are in your food, as well as keeping you on track to achieve your personalised goals. You can even link it to Pacer so your daily steps count towards your exercise quota.

8. Learn to love exercise

Next, find an exercise you genuinely love to get yourself moving. If you force yourself to do exercises you hate then you’re bound to lose steam and give up. Rather than thinking of exercise as a chore, make it part of your self-care routine - something you enjoy in itself and for yourself rather than something you just haveto do.

So if the gym isn’t your thing, trade it in for a scenic hike with the dog, some gardening when the weather’s nice or a game of footie with your mates to make your 150 minutes something you look forward to.

9. Snack healthy

There’s no need to stop snacking, just replace them for something healthy. Switch sugary snacks up for fruit or something protein-packed. Muscle Food has a great range of high-protein snacks which you can enjoy at fantastic value. From high-protein Mars bars to Nakd Blueberry Muffin bars and even light, low-fat crisps, there’s plenty to choose from which will help curb your more naughty snacking habits.

While you’re at it, quit those midnight snacks. If you snack too late at night your body finds it harder to metabolise food, which means you’re more likely to gain weight, not to mention sending your blood sugar out of whack and elevating your cholesterol. Ideally, don’t eat after 8pm to keep your body in shape.

10. Get a good night’s sleep

The importance of a good night’s sleep can’t be overemphasised. It improves your concentration, keeps your heart healthy, helps you maintain a healthy weight and keeps your body performing at its peak. Whereas research has found if you don’t get the right amount of sleep, it could have negative effects on your cardiovascular, immune, endocrine and nervous systems, as well as negative knock on effects such as a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Aim for a solid seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and keep to a regular sleep pattern. Stay away from your phone a half hour before you settle down to avoid distraction and pick up a book instead to start helping your brain wind down. You could even set an alarm reminding them that it’s time to go to bed to encourages us to be mindful of the time in the evening and not adopt a “I’ll go to bed in a minute” mentality.

You can also help your sleep cycle with free apps like Relax Melodies, Sleep Time and Pillow. These will help you relax, unwind and keep track of your sleep to ensure you’re getting some much-needed rest.

11. Slow down at the pub

Did you know an average pint of beer has 208 calories, and counts as three units of alcohol?

As a nation, the UK has a well-known drinking culture which shadows the rest of the world. According to the Global Drug Survey 2019, Brits get drunk an average of 51.1 times a year, which amounts to almost once a week - the highest on the list, with the USA coming in second place at 50.3 times a year.

In fact, in 2017 it was reported that 24% of men said their average weekly drinking was more than the recommended 14 units, with both their bank balance and body paying the price. With an average beer costing £3.60 in the UK, this can stack up fast.

Cut down and save money by having a glass of water between drinks, or swap for lower calorie spirits, and slimline mixer, over sugary drinks like beer and cider. Or, here’s a radical idea - try arranging more social events outside of the pub or restaurants. Rather than meeting a friend for a swift pint and a catch-up, why not go to the cinema, an exhibit, meet up for a game of squash or something which doesn’t require a drink?

12. Check in with your mental health

All too often, men focus on the physical side of their health and forget to tend to their emotional health. Rather than powering through, take the time to check in with how you’re feeling. Try some relaxing yoga or some morning stretches to help you relax, unwind and connect with your body.

Over 40s health coach Mark Sleightstrongly recommends that more “men open up and share their feelings more. Connect with the people closest to you and allow yourself to become vulnerable. This greatly improves our health (both physically and mentally) yet is greatly overlooked.” So open up a little more and get in touch with your emotions - it’s free, and will help you live a happier, healthier life.

Support Orchid for Men’s Health Week through Savoo

This is all in aid of getting you feeling fitter and healthier than ever. Take care of your body the same way you would your car and you’re sure to pass your MOT! Don’t forget that Muscle Food has tons of great, healthy options which can help you diet the easy way with great value, healthy and freshly prepared meals and snacks. Whether you want to lose some weight or bulk up and get healthier, Muscle Food has a plan which can help.

Get a plan which suits both your lifestyle and your budget by using one of Savoo’s fab Muscle Food deals. Save £5 on orders over £60, or get £10 off plus free delivery on your Summer Fitness and Do the Unthinkable plan. In this bundle, not only do you get to choose delicious healthy meals and snacks to suit you, but you’ll also get a series free, specially designed home workouts to increase your fitness levels in just three months.

Every time you use one of these offers, Muscle Food and Savoo will give extra donations on your behalf to Orchid, the men’s cancer charity. Working with those affected by prostate, testicular and penile cancer, this hard-working charity strives to promote health awareness for men, as well as offering an invaluable range of support and educated to those affected by cancer. Find out more about how it works and start your journey to better health today.