By Dr. Selwyn O. Rogers

When I moved to Galveston last year, I was overweight and out of shape.

An annual visit to the doctor diagnosed me with hypertension and an abnormal glucose level. I was anything but a model for wellness. And I was about to become the Chief Medical Officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Confession is good for the soul and hard on the ego, but if I can grab control of my life, anybody can. It wasn't long before I copied the behavior of healthy islanders and began jogging on the beach and cycling on the sea wall. The result for me is better controlled blood pressure and glucose and I lost 10 percent of my arrival weight!

This month, we celebrate National Men’s Health Month, a time to focus on heightening awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. I encourage all the men reading this column to think about taking some small steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

If you think about it, men’s health is a family issue that impacts wives, mothers, children and partners. Furthermore, if men lead a healthy lifestyle, they act as a role model for their children. You don’t need to entirely overhaul your daily routine, but a few small steps can lead to big changes and could even save your life.

Heart disease, cancer and diabetes can be prevented or detected early with regular checkups. But many men forgo doctor visits and preventive screenings, ignore symptoms of illness and delay needed care. If you haven’t already, learn about your family’s health history and your own health risks, then schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for an annual wellness checkup and prevention screening.

Every journey begins with a single step. When you’re faced with two meal options on your lunch break, opt for the healthier choice instead of a cheeseburger. If you must have the cheeseburger, skip the bun and ask for vegetables instead of fries. You don’t think you have time to get exercise? How much time do you spend watching television or on social media? Swap out 30 minutes of that time and get some fresh air, walk your dog or engage in outdoor activities with your family.

Thirty minutes of exercise a day, five days a week is all you need to get in better shape, and more importantly, significantly reduce your lifetime risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Men’s Health Month is an opportunity for men to take their health into their own hands, increase awareness of potential health problems and take the necessary steps to prevent those problems. Take care of yourself to be the best man you can be!

Dr. Selwyn O. Rogers is the Chief Medical Officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

For more information on men's screening guidelines and health tips, click here.