Healthy Aging Tips for Men

Oct 28, 2022 4:25:03 PM

Written By:
Dr. Charlie Ware. AP, DOM

healthy aging men

Why are men dying younger than women, and what can they do to enjoy longer, healthier lives?

The US Department of Health and Human Services shows the life expectancy for males born in 2021 is 73.2 years, down from 74.2 in 2020 and roughly six fewer years than women.[1] With several factors at play, from engaging in more dangerous activities and professions to putting off their annual doctor and dental checkups, men are bombarded with an array of actions they can take to mitigate their intimidating odds.

are men aging ungracefully?

While women usually come to mind when you hear the word “hormones,” men have them, too, and they’re not only for sperm production. Their metabolic processes, bone and muscle mass, fat cell distribution, and even moods are impacted by a precarious balance of hormones circulating in the body.

In reality, men and women live a similar existence in modern America. They are both likely to work full-time jobs, share family and domestic needs around the house, eat unhealthy convenience foods, and feel the compounding of day-to-day stress as they move into middle age. One significant difference is that men are less likely to visit a general practitioner annually, have baseline blood labs drawn, or willingly discuss their emotions.

While women are more likely to process and release daily stress through avenues like talk therapy, more men turn to so-called stress relieving techniques such as drinking alcohol, having a cigarette, or gambling. When men do seek healthcare services, there are surprising differences observed in their treatment plans compared to women’s.

“...a qualitative study from Toronto found that dismissive and intolerant attitudes of health care providers were implicated in…men’s decision to use alcohol, drugs, and sex in response to mental health issues rather than utilizing formal services.”[2]

The underexpression of emotion, coupled with overindulgence in unhealthy mechanisms for daily stress relief and a lack of support in the healthcare system has left the modern man in a tough spot. Luckily, he is adapting.

Learn how healthy mitochondria help us age better in our guide.

is exercise the answer?

While it’s common to picture a man lifting heavy weights or running a marathon, exercise doesn’t need to be so extreme. Instead, focus on holistic, lower impact physical activities for longevity. Last year, almost one-third of those practicing yoga were men, bringing collagen and fibrin supporting activities into new territory. Men’s Journal recommends doing pilates for these five reasons:

  • Developing muscle groups neglected by traditionally male-dominated workouts
  • Improving flexibility
  • Building core strength
  • Living more consciously
  • Having better sex

It’s true that exercise does increase production of testosterone, the sex hormone that helps develop and maintain the reproductive system, muscle mass, bone health, and mood. That’s good news for men, as testosterone levels are dropping at an “alarming” rate in recent years.[3] Similarly, sperm counts have decreased by more than 50% over the past 50 years.[4] 

Environmental and lifestyle factors top the list of proposed reasons for these declines– particularly weight problems, sedentary work, poor diet, increased alcohol intake, exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and lack of restful sleep. While being more active is generally a good strategy for improving health and wellness, it’s not “the more, the better.” Extreme workout regimens and steroid usage, for example, have their own risks and can prematurely age the body.

isn't aging normal?

Yes, we are all aging. The key is to age with as little interruption to our happy, healthy lives as possible. New studies have found that almost half of men are losing their Y chromosomes at an unnatural rate, which has been linked with heart problems down the road[5] The Y chromosome is also linked to bone density, blood pressure, mental sharpness, and other aging-related structures and functions.

Most men have a higher muscle-to-fat ratio than women do, leading to a more efficient metabolism; men are burning through nutrients more quickly and need more sleep to recover from strenuous activity. Males also lose collagen, a protein found in the skin, earlier and more consistently than women do, which causes a loss in skin elasticity and rebound.

Further neurological studies have thrown some curveballs, too, find that “the adult female brain is on average a few years younger than the male brain.”[6] With a metabolically older brain in adulthood, men are seemingly fighting an uphill battle to cognitively age well.

ten healthy aging tips for men

Taking charge of your lifestyle and working in partnership with your healthcare professionals will help you become more educated about your unique wellness needs, and allow you to make informed choices as you age. The following tips can be used as a guide to support your body and mind with age.

  1. Eat minimally processed, whole foods. Adapt the basics of the Mediterranean Diet—full of fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables—or that of other Blue Zones (regions of the world where people live longer than average).
  2. Engage in physical exercise…but don’t overdo it. Enjoy a variety of activities, such as yoga, pilates, and Tai Chi, in addition to the usual cardio and weightlifting routines. Avoid the extreme protocols that exhaust the body and can cause premature aging.
  3. Get restful sleep. Create an evening ritual to wind down the body & mind before bed, releasing the stress of the day.
  4. Work toward a healthy weight. Keep in mind that too much visceral belly fat can interfere with testosterone production.
  5. Get annual exams. Your general practitioner can suggest which tests are appropriate for you, such as labs to check thyroid and prostate function or a colonoscopy to screen for abnormalities. Changes from year to year can be more telling than simply getting checked when something feels off.
  6. Start supplementing. Discuss your diet and lifestyle with an integrative or functional medicine doctor to uncover the regimen that’s right for you. Men in particular tend to need more omega fatty acids, magnesium, and certain amino acids, which you burn through quickly due to your faster metabolism.
  7. Strive for hormonal balance. Remember that testosterone declines with age, but too little too early can lead to premature aging and certain other discomforts.
  8. Visit your dentist annually. Unchecked periodontal infections allow bacteria to travel through the bloodstream to damage the heart.[7]
  9. Cut down on alcohol. If you drink, limit it to 1-2 per day at most. Excessive consumption can negatively impact testicular function or result in erectile issues.[8]
  10. Quit smoking cigarettes. This one is non-negotiable. Quitting smoking is strongly linked with a lower risk of age-related heart problems that are more common in men over age 50.[9]

related content: take the healthy aging quiz

takeaway: be like buddha

Contrary to popular belief, Siddhartha Gautama was not actually overweight. Instead, he was a shining example of a man striving for balance in every aspect of life. He learned the importance of taking the middle road, rather than living a lifestyle of extremes. Wellness will not be achieved by denying yourself the pleasures of good food and carnal passion, nor will it be realized through double daily workouts and steroid abuse. Seeking balance, eating fresh, real foods, exercising outdoors, and building a network of healthcare practitioners will help you support your health holistically.

Aging Protocol

[1] Arias E, Tejada-Vera B, Kochanek KD, Ahmad FB. Provisional life expectancy estimates for 2021. Vital Statistics Rapid Release; no 23. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. August 2022. DOI: 10.15620/cdc:118999.

[2] Stike C, Rhodes AE, Bergmans Y, et al. Fragmented pathways to care: the experiences Crisis. 2006;27(1):31–38.

[3] Anna-Maria Andersson, Tina K. Jensen, Anders Juul, Jørgen H. Petersen, Torben Jørgensen, Niels E. Skakkebæk, Secular Decline in Male Testosterone and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Serum Levels in Danish Population Surveys, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 92, Issue 12, 1 December 2007, Pages 4696–4705,

[4] Thomas G. Travison, Andre B. Araujo, Amy B. O’Donnell, Varant Kupelian, John B. McKinlay, A Population-Level Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels in American Men, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 92, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 196–202,

[5] Sano S, Horitani K, Ogawa H, Halvardson J, Chavkin NW, Wang Y, Sano M, Mattisson J, Hata A, Danielsson M, Miura-Yura E, Zaghlool A, Evans MA, Fall T, De Hoyos HN, Sundström J, Yura Y, Kour A, Arai Y, Thel MC, Arai Y, Mychaleckyj JC, Hirschi KK, Forsberg LA, Walsh K. Hematopoietic loss of Y chromosome leads to...Science. 2022 Jul 15;377(6603):292-297. doi: 10.1126/science.abn3100. Epub 2022 Jul 14. PMID: 35857592; PMCID: PMC9437978.

[6] Goyal MS, Blazey TM, Su Y, Couture LE, Durbin TJ, Bateman RJ, Benzinger TL, Morris JC, Raichle ME, Vlassenko AG. Persistent metabolic youth in the aging female brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Feb 19;116(8):3251-3255. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1815917116. Epub 2019 Feb 4. Erratum in: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Mar 12;116(11):5198. PMID: 30718410; PMCID: PMC6386682.

[7] Chaudhry S, Jaiswal R, Sachdeva S. Dental considerations in cardiovascular patients: A practical perspective. Indian Heart J. 2016 Jul-Aug;68(4):572-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ihj.2015.11.034. Epub 2016 Jan 11. PMID: 27543484; PMCID: PMC4990738.

[8] Rachdaoui N, Sarkar DK. Pathophysiology of the effects of alcohol abuse on the endocrine system. Alcohol Res 2017;38:255–276.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.