Men’s Health Month: Tips and issues

Lt. Dawn Whiting, Nurse Corps, Health Promotion and Wellness with Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center

Recruits from Division 816 march in formation after completing physical training at Recruit Training Command (RTC) Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. Division 816 is one of the Special Warfare Operations divisions at RTC. The "0800" Divisions are made up of rating candidates for Special Warfare Operator, Special Warfare Boat Operator, Navy Diver, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and rescue swimmers. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)

Did you know that according to the Mayo clinic, unintentional injury is the third largest threat to men’s health? Only heart disease and cancer pose a greater threat. Within the US military population, injuries are the leading health problem, with musculoskeletal injuries comprising the majority of these incidents. The good news is many of these are preventable. What can you do to mitigate your risk?

  • To prevent overuse injuries of the lower extremities, civilian and military research has shown that decreasing running volume can significantly reduce your risk. The Joint Services Physical Training Injury Prevention Workgroup found a 40 percent reduction in running distance was associated with a 53 percent reduction in stress fracture incidence and only slightly (three percent) slower run times. One way to achieve this reduction in total mileage without sacrificing speed or cardiovascular endurance is to practice interval training. Evidence shows substituting some long runs with interval training can actually lead to more rapid performance gains while reducing total mileage. Examples of interval training include Fartlek runs, sprint repeats and track workouts. Every interval training session should include a warm-up and cool down, and interval work should not be started until you have a good cardiovascular base (the ability to maintain an elevated heart rate for 20-30 minutes three times per week).
  • Quit tobacco use. Tobacco reduces the ability of your red blood cells to carry oxygen, therefore making your body unable to meet the increased oxygen demands. Research examining male infantry Soldiers found those who smoked increased their risk of injury threefold. Tools to help with tobacco cessation can be found at NCMPHC Healthy living.
  • When driving, wear your seatbelt and do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs that may make you drowsy.
  • If you own or operate a motorcycle, enroll in a motorcycle safety course.

MCPON sends a message about motorcycle safety. Motorcycle Safety Month was during the month of March, but that doesn’t mean we should forget this topic.

  • Utilize the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System (NOFFS) to improve your workouts, improve your performance both on and off the job, and reduce your risk of injury. To learn more about NOFFS, build your individualized workout, or to download the NOFFS iPhone app click here.  
  • When at work, utilize available personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with your company’s policies.

For more information about injury prevention, as well as other health promotion and wellness topics, please visit our website at by clicking here.

Sailors participating in Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System (NOFFS). The system is built on five pillar preps of eat clean, eat often, hydrate, recover and mindset. NOFFS is designed to keep Sailors ashore and afloat in peak physical condition while reducing the risk of sports injuries and stressing the importance of proper nutrition.