It's Men's Health Month. A pro athlete shares some wellness tips.

Emma Ottosen Photo

It's Men's Health Month. While a lot of us may be thinking about our health and wellness, we may be struggling to take action. In fact, research shows that for many men, focusing on health and wellness is a challenge; one survey showed that some 72% of respondents would rather take on a home improvement project than see a doctor. 

For a little help reframing and advice about how we can stay healthy, we spoke with Jack Brown, a cutter for the Swedish-sponsored men's ultimate frisbee team, the Seattle Cascades. The 2022 season marks Jack's third year on the pro disc team, where he has made an impact among players and coaches and on and off the field. During the 2021 season, Jack blazed the league with an impressive 2,053 receiving yards. 

"Post-game fan interactions are routinely the highlight of my week," says Jack. "Being able to see the kids that I inspire face-to-face and giving motivation for them to push themselves to take my spot is what sports are all about." 

Rowdy Webb Photo

What do you do to maintain your fitness level for Ultimate Frisbee?

The best way I have found to stay in frisbee shape has been to just go out and play as much as you can. I typically play for two or three teams [at the same time] so I find myself playing about five or six days a week for two hours a day. When there isn’t too much going on though I have found high intensity interval training (HIIT), running stairs and single leg strength exercises to take me to that next level.

Can you share some of your recovery routine?

My biggest thing is sleep. With such a high impact activity it is critical to give your body the time to rest it needs. Additionally, stretching and active recovery (swimming, yoga, biking) can get you ready for your next outing

It’s National Men’s Health Awareness Month. What advice do you have for men of all ages for getting and staying healthy?

The best way to get active or stay active is trying it as a group. Find a group of people with similar goals, this will be a great source of accountability to help you stick with your goal. It's also an incentive to go out and DO something. Making sports an activity with your friends makes it that much more rewarding.

How can the average man incorporate some of your fitness tips into their everyday routines and best health practices?

There are a billion different ways to get moving so I can’t give you a solution, but what has worked for me is in addition to being an athletic enthusiast, is being an avid soccer simulation video game player. One thing I absolutely HATE to do is any sort of upper body exercise, so I made the deal with myself that for every goal scored on me, I would do 5 pull ups. Staying consistent is all it really takes because in your brain it starts to think “oh if this happens then X will occur.” It can also be something less circumstantial though, like if you were to go on a run before you eat dinner then mentally it gets easier as you get used to it. You just have to make sure to actively carve out that time for yourself. 

Speaking as an athlete, why is it important for men to pay attention to health and regular care lie checkups?

One of the most influential pieces of advice that a coach has given me is 'early work is good work'. Whether it's making that wellness appointment or getting in a workout, don't procrastinate on it. Doing things early gives you more time to react and adapt. This can also help you learn about your health and any challenges that could be associated with a detrimental condition while you can still do something about; it might even be life saving. Many times I have tried to tough out injuries because I thought it’d be fine, but that just proved to sideline me longer. It proved the lesson to trust the expert opinion. Healthcare professionals have the same objective as you: to keep you as healthy as possible. There is no reason to not work together. You just have to follow up sooner rather than later. 

How do you look after your emotional and mental health during the regular season and the off season?

I think one of the things that matured me as a player is what happens on the field does not define me off it. No matter how I perform on the field, there is still people that will show up to support me. That is what gives me the strength to keep high standards for myself. In the offseason though I think of the other side of that saying, what happens off the field will most definitely define me on it. That helps me do all the extra stuff that my opponents aren’t such as the the extra workouts.

What message do you have for men about the importance of taking care of their mental and physical health?

Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. It is hard to be doing well in just one of them. Going out and running around is going to help you feel good, but if your head isn’t right it will be that much tougher to motivate yourself to go out and move. We as a group have got to try to make greater strides in the mental health of men.

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Find a doctor

If you have concerns about your health or it’s time for a check-up, it’s important to see a primary care provider. Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options.

Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Related resources

No more excuses! It's time for that wellness checkup 

Men’s health: It’s never too early to start annual exams. (swedish.org

Women’s health: Changes for every phase of life

Melanoma is a common cancer. Learn about signs and treatments

 

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

 

 

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About the Author

The Swedish Men's Health Team is dedicated to helping men of all ages reach and maintain their optimal health by providing relevant and helpful clinically based advice.

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