BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — June is national men’s health month- a month that emphasizes how important it is for men to take care of their bodies.

Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis told CBS42 on average men don’t come to the doctor regularly each year like they should, but she notes that simple check-up is the start to finding and treating severe health concerns.

She said the foundation of prioritizing your health starts with those regular visits to your primary care doctor, and noted it is vital you listen to your body.

Ignoring your body may put yourself at risk for cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and lingering effects of viruses.

She recommended placing a focus on drinking plenty of water, giving your body an opportunity to feel its best. Exercise is also key, helping relieve stress and decreasing risk of severe disease.

“It helps us to keep our blood pressure controlled,” said Dr. Reese-Willis. “In addition to that, it helps us maintain our weight and it helps us to lose weight. It helps us to improve circulation. Every organ in your body needs good circulation to function at its best. So, when you exercise, you are giving your body that gift. So, everyone should give their body that gift every day.”

Doctors CBS42 talked to said it’s important to get annual screenings and bloodwork done to prevent severe disease like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes along with colon and prostate cancer.

This is because you may feel fine and have no symptoms.

“And think everything is, you know, normal, but yet have some underlying problem such has hypertension or diabetes,” said Dr. Greg Bearden, a General Surgeon at Princeton Baptist Medical Center.

“If you’re not paying attention to your body, then you’re putting yourself in a situation where you are at risk for cancer, from heart attacks, for strokes, from complications from COVID or any other lingering virus that may present itself.”

Warren Austin walked into a doctor’s appointment nearly 10 years ago- one that detected several health scares like diabetes and high blood pressure all while he smoked a pack of cigarettes each day.

Austin said he left the office that day starting his journey to healthy living and making the changes necessary to live longer for his family.

He quit smoking and now eats healthier, exercises, and makes regular visits to the doctor- something he said younger men don’t often think about.

“They need to be developing those habits then,” said Austin. “So, I would suggest anybody at that age that if they have good exercise habits continue that, but if you don’t you need to start that. Because otherwise, when you hit 40, 50, or 60 like I am, you’re going to have issues that aren’t fun. So, you need to address it earlier and just make it a priority.”

Austin said he feels fortunate that his doctor stressed the importance of making those health changes that now allow him to enjoy life with his wife and family more.