Whether or not you ultimately have children, your health should always be your main focus. If you and your partner choose to have children, you’ve taken the steps towards being the healthy father your family deserves. And even if you never have children, taking care of yourself means a longer, healthier and happier life. Regardless of where you are in life, remember to eat a healthy diet, get 30 minutes of exercise a day, manage your stress, and see a doctor at least once a year. These tips will ensure the healthiest you today!

keys to a healthy you

  • Eat Right

    Proper nutritional habits are the key to more energy, brain & heart health, disease prevention, and weight control. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products are healthy choices. Include protein foods such as poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and lean meats. Make sure to choose foods that are low in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.

  • Be Active

    Adults need at least 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week. It might sound like a lot of time but you don't have to do it all at once. Spread your activity throughout the week and even during the day. Just make sure you’re doing activity at a moderate to vigorous pace at least 10 minutes at a time.

  • Protect Yourself

    Visit with a primary care provider like a doctor, nurse practitioner or other healthcare provider that you trust. You should be able to share your medical history and work together as partners to address all areas of your health. Your medical home should be easy to get to, affordable and comfortable. During these visits, be sure you get tested for STIs and remember to use protection (like condoms) the right way every time you engage in sexual behavior.

  • Manage Your Stress

    Stress is hard on your physical health and can cause high blood pressure. Manage your stress by confronting the issue, breathing, getting plenty of rest, talking with a friend, or getting some exercise.

  • Avoid Alcohol & Other Substances

    Eliminate alcohol, tobacco, and any illegal drugs as they can all negatively affect your health and the health of your family. Below are a few things that will help you depending on if you’re thinking about kids or not.

I'm Thinking About Having Kids

Now is a good time to start getting ready for fatherhood— even if it’s still a few years away. Your future family deserves the healthiest you.

Did you know that your health is as important to your baby as it is to your partner? If you have an STI (sexually transmitted infection), you could infect her and make it harder to get pregnant. If you’re around dangerous chemicals or smoke, your partner breathes these in, too. These toxins can cause birth defects. Take care of yourself so your and your family stays healthy.

Healthy Body

You are valuable to your family. So, keep yourself healthy, mentally fit and emotionally supported. Here are some tips on how you can keep yourself, your partner and your future baby healthy.

Get At Least 30 minutes Of Exercise Daily.

Exercise is a great way to manage stress and keep your body healthy. Daily exercise gives you:

  • Stronger heart, muscles and bones
  • Less stress
  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • Healthier weight
  • Fewer illnesses

Find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your day. Visit the gym, go running at a local park, or join a recreational sports team. If you don’t have a lot of time, take a walk around your neighborhood or do some simple exercises at your home. Check out the parks, pools, community centers, and recreation areas to be physically active around Waco.

Find A Medical Home.

Don’t wait to get until something is wrong. It’s important for you, like all men, to get a yearly checkup and discuss with your doctor any health problems you might be having.

If you have a family history of high blood pressure, cancer or diabetes, make sure to let your doctor know and be aware of warning signs. Developing a medical home — a trusted doctor you access for regular care — is important in getting ready for children in the future.

Check out our resource map to find a medical home near you. 

Get Checked For STIs.

Even if you don’t have symptoms and feel fine, it’s important that you get checked for STIs. You can still pass on infections to your partner and that can hurt a developing baby.

Men are much less likely to show signs of infection than women. If you don’t think you’re infected, you won’t know you’re passing something on to your partner.

Remember to use protection (like condoms) the right way every time you engage in sexual behavior to ensure you protect yourself and your partner from an STI.

Learn more about the different types of STIs and how to avoid getting them.

Visit the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (225 W Waco Drive) to get tested today.

Develop A Life Plan

Life planning isn’t only for women. Men can also benefit from looking at their life choices and deciding when the time is right to start a family. Doing so can put your current lifestyle in perspective and give you incentive to make positive behavioral changes. The Life Planning Tool has one or two questions specifically for your partner, but it can be a good tool to take note of where you are now versus where you want to be. Encourage your partner to fill it out too and then discuss them together.

Know The Effects Of Drinking, Smoking, And Drugs

Using tobacco, drugs and alcohol can cause serious health problems for you and any children you may have one day. Some things you should know:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco can lower your sperm count and make it more difficult to get an erection.
  • Using steroids or marijuana or drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day can cause abnormal sperm and lower your testosterone level which can lead to lower sex drive, smaller testicles and increased male breast size.

Additionally, secondhand smoke can cause early death and disease among children and adults who do not smoke. A pregnant woman who is exposed to secondhand smoke has 20% higher chance of giving birth to a baby with low birth weight than women who are not exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy.

If you are having a hard time with quitting drinking, smoking, or using drugs―get help by checking out our resource map.

Eat Right

Texas’ highways and byways are like a giant fast food buffet. Something quick and easy to eat is always right around the corner. But those fast food fixes probably don’t satisfy you. The high salt and carbohydrate content often make you feel stuffed for a while, but you’ll be hungry soon after. High-fat diets also have been shown to affect mood.

Lean protein, vegetables and fruits should be at the center of your diet. Look for healthier options that will fill you up and give you energy. Think about the following when you’re making meal choices:

  • Grains: These are foods made with wheat, oats, rice, etc. Try to make at least half of your servings “whole grain.” Grain foods are a major source of iron and fiber.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Eat plenty of them — especially dark-green, red and orange fruits and veggies. Eating plenty of fiber like peas and beans will help you feel full. Plus, it’s good for your heart.
  • Milk, yogurt and cheese: These can be part of a healthy diet, but switch to fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat versions.
  • Meat: Limit your red meats, but maintain your protein intake. Look for lean, low-sodium choices when possible; baked chicken, lean beef and turkey are great ways to get the nutrients you need.
  • Seafood: Increase your seafood consumption and try eating fish, shrimp and other shellfish at least twice a week.
  • Soda and Alcohol: Try to limit your soda and alcohol consumption as both have high amounts of sugar, empty calories and dehydrate the body.
  • Water: It flushes the bad stuff out your system, increases energy and boosts your immune system.

Visit the Waco Downtown Farmers Market (400 South University Parks Drive) year-round every Saturday from 9-1pm. SNAP can be used to purchase fresh produce and groceries at the market.

Also visit the Veggie Van, a mobile produce unit that travels all around Waco with affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. They even offer discounts to SNAP users and senior citizens.

For some healthy and easy recipes, check out our Pinterest page.

Additional Resources

If you want to become a father someday, it’s a good idea to start tracking your health history. You will be able to update any medical conditions in real time and share with your healthcare provider and your partner. Begin creating a Family Health Portrait.

If you need help to stop smoking, the Texas QuitLine gives you the support over the phone. You don’t need to leave home, find a ride or arrange childcare. They call you when it works for you, ready to share tips and help you beat your cravings.

For other resources around Waco that can help you maintain a healthy body, check out our resource map.

Healthy Environment

Whether you’re considering having kids a few months from now or a few years, it is important to recognize certain chemicals and conditions in your home or workplace that can harm your reproductive health. Creating a healthy environment provides benefits for you and your future family

Reducing the exposure to the following to protect your health and the health of the kids you might have someday:

  • Radiation or chemicals at work
  • Extremely hot environments
  • Organic solvents used for hobbies like refinishing furniture, repairing cars, painting and building models
  • Lead or heavy metals used for hobbies like pottery, cleaning guns and in industrial workplaces
  • Metals, pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that may be found in workplaces

Other ways to ensure a healthy environment include:

Build Your Support System

It’s is important to have people to support as you plan for children. You will be getting a lot of information, and your support person can help make things less confusing. Know who to turn to answer questions or lend an ear. Most important in this system is your partner. 

Child Care Needs

Selecting child care is one of the most important choices you and your partner will make about your baby. Visit our resource map to see where child care is located around you. 

Violence Between Partners

Healthy relationships are built on respect, open communication and the freedom to be comfortable, happy and honest. If you’re having trouble managing your temper or have been in an abusive relationship in the past, you can get help to keep the cycle from repeating itself.

If you start to feel angry, try taking some deep breaths. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Concentrate on positive thoughts while you breathe and continue this until the anger subsides.

Additional Resources

Get a more extensive list on Household Chemicals to Avoid from The March of Dimes.

For other resources around Waco that can help you maintain a healthy environment, check out our resource map.

Healthy Mind

Taking care of your mind is an important step in taking care of your body. Use the below tips to work towards a healthy mind for you and your future family:

Address your stress.

Your emotional and mental health can impact your physical health. Stress at home or work can cause unhealthy weight gain or weight loss. It can significantly increase your risk of heart disease and other medical problems, too. Stress can also lower your sperm count and your testosterone levels. To reduce stress, remember this advice:

  • Deal with the stress directly and move on.
  • Take deep, slow breaths when you feel stress coming on.
  • Try to get about eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Try to laugh by watching a funny web video or TV show.
  • Sweat it out with a solid workout or run.
  • Talk to someone you trust.

Recognize when it’s something more.

Sometimes normal stress turns into more serious issues. Depression and anxiety may require professional help. Even if you don’t like to ask for help, doing so is a sign of strength. You recognize you are having a problem and you want to do something about it.

Utilize our resource map to find local resources in Waco that can help support your mental health.

You can also call the National Lifeline for Support at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Additional Resources

For other resources around Waco that can help you maintain a healthy mind, check out our resource map.

I'm Not Thinking About Having Kids

Living healthy is important even if you’re not thinking about being a dad. Exercise, eat right and avoid tobacco and drugs. If you do, you’ll live longer and you’ll be ready for fatherhood if you decide its right for you.

Healthy Body

You should always be thinking about your personal health and well-being. Staying physically fit will leave you feeling your best and it will help you in all areas of your life including work, sports, socializing with friends and many other things you enjoy.

Get At Least 30 Minutes Of Exercise Daily.

Exercise is a great way to manage stress and keep your body healthy. Daily exercise gives you:

  • Stronger heart, muscles and bones
  • Less stress
  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • Healthier weight
  • Fewer illnesses

Find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your day. Visit a recreation center, go for a swim, or join a sports team. If you don’t have a lot of time, take a walk around your neighborhood or do some simple exercises from your home. Check out the parks, pools, community centers, and recreation areas to be physically active around Waco.

Eat Right

It’s so easy to run through a drive through for a quick meal. But those fast food fixes probably don’t satisfy you. The high salt and carbohydrate content often make you feel stuffed for a while, but you’ll be hungry soon after. High-fat diets also have been shown to affect mood.

Lean protein, vegetables and fruits should be at the center of your diet. Look for healthier options that will fill you up and give you energy. Think about the following when you’re making meal choices:

  • Grains: These are foods made with wheat, oats, rice, etc. Try to make at least half of your servings “whole grain.” Grain foods are a major source of iron and fiber.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Eat plenty of them — especially dark-green, red and orange fruits and veggies. Eating plenty of fiber like peas and beans will help you feel full. Plus, it’s good for your heart.
  • Milk, yogurt and cheese: These can be part of a healthy diet, but switch to fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat versions.
  • Meat: Limit your red meats, but maintain your protein intake. Look for lean, low-sodium choices when possible; baked chicken, lean beef and turkey are great ways to get the nutrients you need.
  • Seafood: Increase your seafood consumption and try eating fish, shrimp and other shellfish at least twice a week.
  • Soda and Alcohol: Try to limit your soda and alcohol consumption as both have high amounts of sugar, empty calories and dehydrate the body.
  • Water: It flushes the bad stuff out your system, increases energy and boosts your immune system.

Visit the Waco Downtown Farmers Market (400 South University Parks Drive) year-round every Saturday from 9-1pm. SNAP can be used to purchase fresh produce and groceries at the market.

Also visit the Veggie Van, a mobile produce unit that travels all around Waco with affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. They even offer discounts to SNAP users and senior citizens.

For some healthy and easy recipes, check out our Pinterest page.

Leave The Alcohol,Smoking and Drugs Alone.

Using tobacco, drugs and alcohol can cause serious health problems and lead to lower testosterone levels. Lower levels can cause lower sex drive, smaller testicles and increased male breast size. You may not be aware that:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco can lower your sperm count and make it more difficult to get an erection.
  • Drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day can cause abnormal sperm and lower your testosterone level.
  • Using marijuana increases the risk of chronic cough and bronchitis as well as schizophrenia in at-risk individuals.
  • Steroid abuse affects the hormone production in your body, causing many changes that may not be reversible.

If you are having a hard time with quitting drinking, smoking, or using drugs―get help by checking out our resource map.

Find A Medical Home.

Don’t wait to get until something is wrong. It’s important for you, like all men, to get a yearly checkup and discuss with your doctor any health problems you might be having.

If you have a family history of high blood pressure, cancer or diabetes, make sure to let your doctor know and be aware of warning signs.

Take advantage of this time to learn about how to handle any chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension you may have.

Additionally, visit your dentist at least once (and ideally twice) every year for healthy teeth and gums.

Check out our resource map to find a medical home near you.

Make The Choice To Get Checked.

It’s always important to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) regularly. It’s a step in the right direction towards good health. STIs can cause problems down the road.

You may think you’re ok, but men can stay infected for a long time. They also are much less likely to show signs of infection than women. You won’t know you’re passing something on to your partner if you don’t think you’re infected.

If you’re able to spread an STI, you’re also able to get your partner pregnant if she’s not using birth control. Untreated STIs in women can be very dangerous for a pregnancy.

Remember to use protection (like condoms) the right way every time you engage in sexual behavior to ensure you protect yourself and your partner from an STI.

Visit the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (225 W Waco Drive) to get tested today. 

Additional Resources

If you need help to stop smoking, the Texas QuitLine gives you the support over the phone. You don’t need to leave home, find a ride or arrange childcare. They call you when it works for you, ready to share tips and help you beat your cravings.

For other resources around Waco that can help you maintain a healthy body, check out our resource map.

Healthy Environment

A big factor in your overall health is where you work and live. Even though you may not be having kids any time soon, it’s important to know that certain chemicals and conditions in your home or workplace can cause serious risks to your reproductive health.

While reducing exposure to the following is good for your health, it’s also really important for the kids you might have someday:

  • Radiation or chemicals at work
  • Extremely hot environments
  • Organic solvents used for hobbies like refinishing furniture, repairing cars, painting and building models
  • Lead or heavy metals used for hobbies like pottery, cleaning guns and in industrial workplaces
  • Metals, pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that may be found in workplaces

Build Your Support System

Regardless of if you have kids in the future, it is important to have people to support you in your life. Know who to turn to answer questions or lend an ear about your health, job, school, or life and lean on that person.

Violence Between Partners

Healthy relationships are built on respect, open communication and the freedom to be comfortable, happy and honest. If you’re having trouble managing your temper or have been in an abusive relationship in the past, you can get help to keep the cycle from repeating itself.

If you start to feel angry, try taking some deep breaths. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Concentrate on positive thoughts while you breathe and continue this until the anger subsides.

Additional Resources

For other resources around Waco that can help you maintain a healthy mind, check out our resource map.

Healthy Mind

A healthy mind is important to being an all-around healthy person. When you take care of your mental state, your physical body enjoys the benefits. 

Say yes to less stress.

Stress at home and work can lead to weight loss or weight gain. It can significantly increase your risk of heart disease and other medical problems. Stress can also decrease your sperm count and wreak havoc on your male hormone levels.

To counter stress, use these tips and hints:

  • Tackle stress head-on, addressing the problem and moving on.
  • Take deep, slow breaths when you feel stress coming on.
  • Try to get about eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Laughter can sometimes be the best medicine.
  • Sweat it out with a solid workout or run.
  • Find someone to talk to.

Could it be more than just stress?

Sometimes normal stress turns into more serious issues like depression and anxiety- both which may require professional help. Even if you don’t like to ask for help, doing so is a sign of strength. You recognize you are having a problem and you want to do something about it.

Utilize our resource map to find local resources in Waco that can help support your mental health.

You can also call the National Lifeline for Support at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Additional Resources

For other resources around Waco that can help you maintain a healthy mind, check out our resource map.