Men’s Health Week is taking place right now, so it’s time to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

Anthony Sabella, a reporter for News 3, is looking at a risk factor that is more likely to affect men, and it’s probably not something you’ve thought about.

Even if some of us don’t want to acknowledge it, don’t we all want to feel at least a little bit connected to other people? Studies show that men are more likely than women to become lonely, which can be bad for their health.

So, Michael Vilensky of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center says that loneliness has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and cognitive problems like dementia. “Some studies show that people who say they are lonely all the time or for long periods of time are more likely to die early by more than 25 percent.”

Vilensky says that many men experience something called “digital isolation.” This means that they talk to people online, maybe through video games, but they can’t connect with them on a deeper level.

15 percent of men say they won’t have any close friends in 2021, according to studies that break down the numbers. In 1990, the number was only 3 percent.

More than a quarter of men under 30 say they don’t have any close companions.

Mike Lambert is a fitness and lifestyle coach in Norfolk who is also known as “Mike the Fitness Junkie.” He says that breaking the cycle of loneliness can take some personal work first.

First, you should accept how you feel and know that it’s OK to feel that way. Then, you should get to work.

“Write in a gratitude journal. When it comes to writing a journal, when you’re writing to yourself, you’re really understanding who you are. You’re really accepting who you are, and now that you know who you are, you can take other initiatives to help you get out of that funk,” Lambert added.

Then, you need to get out of the house.

Lambert suggests joining a group, like a fitness class, and finding a couple of hours a week to volunteer to help build connections.

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