Talking: it tends to be something women do more often than men, but a men's health group believes its time for guys to be more open about their wellbeing.

June is Men's Health Month, and this year's theme is simple: start talking.

"We want men to talk beyond last week's rugby game, and start sharing with loved ones things that may be going on with their life and health," says Men's Health Trust chairman Phil Clemas.

"Using the hashtag #MenStartTalking, we want to raise consciousness around men's health, and Men's Health Month is about trying to make people more proactive."

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To help men take more control over their health and wellbeing, the Men's Health Trust has developed a comprehensive website where guys can get practical tips and advice.

The website, menshealthnz.org.nz, includes information on a range of topics such as infertility and diabetes, tips on everything from losing belly fat to reducing stress, and an interactive slider that gives guys information about health checks and things to look out for, according to what age bracket they're in.

Men's Health Trust Ambassador Lee-Anne Wann, says while men are starting to ask more questions about their health, there are still a number of conditions that could be better treated if guys spoke up earlier.

"There's still a large population of Kiwi men who stick their head in the sand, and won't do anything until the prostate cancer diagnosis," she says. "Lets go back a few steps."

As a personal trainer, health consultant, and team nutritionist for the Warriors, Lee-Anne often hears a similar set of health concerns from males.

"A lot more men are asking questions like 'why can't I sleep?' and 'why do I look like this?'" she says. "Our environment, stress and modern lifestyle causes us to not be in the best physical shape. And answers from 30 years ago might not be as applicable now."

And when it comes to physical appearance, its not just the women who are feeling the pressure.

Phil Clemas, chairman of Men's Health and nutrition expert Lee-Anne Wann. Photo / Doug Sherring
Phil Clemas, chairman of Men's Health and nutrition expert Lee-Anne Wann. Photo / Doug Sherring

"Body image for men is being talked about more and more," Lee-Anne says. "Men will come to me and say, 'I have a gut but I don't drink alcohol'. Body fat is a big issue for many men, and body fat is just a symptom that the body is not functioning normally."

While diet trends and health fads come and go, Lee-Anne says the key to being healthier is to make small, practical changes, and do them regularly.

"Everything stems from a poor diet, stress, lack of sleep, and excess body fat.

"If we do lots of little things, it will become more of a habit. We are the sum of what we do consistently.

Men's biggest health complaints:

• Feeling sluggish/tired/fatigued
• Excess body fat that is hard to shift
• Feeling stressed
• Trouble with sleeping

How men can start boosting their health and wellbeing today:

• Eat "real food" that is fresh and not processed. You don't need supplements or protein bars
• Drink more water. If plain water doesn't appeal, try adding a squeeze of lemon, orange, or some mint leaves
• Drink less alcohol
• Lessen the use of electronic devices such as phones and iPads, especially in the evening
• Try lifting some weights. Short, sharp bursts of resistance training boost testosterone, and can be more effective than a lengthy run or exercise session

• For more easy and practical health tips, look out for Lee-Anne's new column in the Herald. She's kicking off with a men's health checklist, and will be covering a different topic each week.

• For more information on men's health and Men's Health Month, go to menshealthnz.org.nz.

-nzherald.co.nz