November is men’s health awareness month, and UCHealth is spreading the word. The care system launched a campaign called “MANtenance” to address the importance of physical health and stress management and to talk about topics like masculinity — subjects many believe need greater emphasis in modern life
While more men are paying attention to and talking about health issues like prostate and testicular cancer, MANtenance encourages men to focus on and maintain their everyday health, as well. UCHealth recruited C.J. Anderson of the Denver Broncos, Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche and University of Colorado men’s basketball head coach Tad Boyle to serve as spokesmen for the campaign. Union Station, Coors Field, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Pepsi Center and Elitch Gardens are among the local landmarks lit with blue lights to draw awareness to the effort. UCHealth held free events including a flu shot clinic, a yoga session with Anderson and a workout and panel discussion at Denver’s Fitness in the City gym. Chris Harris of the Broncos, UCHealth physician Justin Ross and Tyrone Beverly, founder of Im’Unique, a yoga program, were featured speakers at the event.
About 40 men gathered at Fitness in the City to exercise with Eric Waller, the gym’s co-owner. They rotated among workout stations and completed push-ups, squats and medicine ball exercises. The workout was intense. One man broke a medicine ball when he slammed it on the floor.
“Yeah man, let’s go! We need a new ball over here,” Waller, a veteran personal trainer, yelled over booming rap music.
Waller said regular exercise benefits his daily life by boosting his health and helping him relieve stress. He said it helps him maintain a positive attitude and improves his relationships with loved ones, co-workers and neighbors. He described how he’s seen exercise help people become more comfortable with themselves and help lead them to new, more positive lives.
“You see people grow as a person and kind of break out of their shell. They become more a part of their community. They become more of an extrovert. You see them start to create a bigger network of friends, and that just leads to benefits in all aspects of their life,” Waller said.
Denver resident Matt Ucci participated in the Fitness in the City workout and panel discussion. Ucci exercises five times a week, lifting weights and working out with the November Project — a group of people who exercise together and hold each other accountable to show up to their scheduled workouts.
“(Exercise) is a good mental release for me. It’s a good way to cool down after a work day, forget about some things for a little bit and just focus on yourself,” Ucci said.
Stress management is an important factor to overall well-being and shouldn’t be overlooked, the presenters agreed. Ross discussed how stereotypes can drive men to think they’re strong and neglect the impact that stress has on their lives. Harris said he manages the stress of being an NFL player by playing video games and by talking with family and friends.
“(Managing stress) is hard, but it’s important. I try to be even keel with everything and try to focus on what I can control,” Harris said.
Beverly talked about the importance of being present for family and loved ones. He called on men to support women and discussed the #MeToo movement that has spread across social media to address issues of assault and sexual harassment.
“When we were young men, people told us, ‘Look at this woman like this’… and ‘Do this because that’s manly,’” Beverly said. “That’s toxic to our society. If we’re not going to make changes, I don’t think (men) can actually classify ourselves as being really strong.”
On the UCHealth website, men can find tips for improving and maintaining their health, includingavoiding tobacco, maintaining proper blood pressure and cholesterol levels and regularly visiting the dentist. To learn more or to pledge to make health a priority, visit uchealth.org/extraordinary/mantenance.