Men’s Health and Exercise
There’s no better time than Men’s Health Week (14-20th June) to focus on some of the ways in which exercise can be used to improve the health and wellbeing of men in our community. Less than half of adult aged men in Australia engage in the minimum recommenced guidelines for exercise and less than ¼ engage in the recommenced levels of strength training, and levels of engagement decrease as men age.
Physical Activity Guidelines:
Coronary artery disease (CAD), suicide/self-harm, and chronic back pain are the three leading causes of disability/disease in Australian men. Exercise is a well-known therapy for both CAD and chronic pain, however exercise also has enormous benefits when it comes to mental health which we will focus on here.
Improvements in mental health resulting from regular exercise are very encouraging given the levels of mental illness in Australian men are so high, particularly in rural and regional areas. These improvements are related to both physiological and psychological changes that occur with exercise.
Most people are aware of exercise related increases in neurotransmitters called endorphins, which relieve pain and stress leading to better mood. Regular exercise also stimulates the growth of new neural connections in the brain which is key for brain health across the lifespan. Group exercise or team sports increase levels of social interaction which is beneficial for mental health, and exercise can also provide a sense of accomplishment when working towards and achieving a goal.
Another area where exercise can have a major impact is in the workplace.
Building towards at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, and at least two days per week of some form of strength training is a great first line of defence for combating the most common causes of disease and disability in Australian men, and Men’s health week is a great time to start making changes.
If you are unsure where to start, you can contact an Exercise Physiologist here at Tablelands Physio in Lithgow to receive a comprehensive assessment of your health status, and we can help plan and implement an effective exercise program that will set you up for success. Alternatively, you can drop in or call for some basic advice and guidance to get you started.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
M.Clin.Ex.Phys, B.Sp.&Ex.Sci. AEP, AES, ESSAM
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