Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has launched a physical fitness and health eBook tailored to men.
“We know that men experience a range of health conditions and symptoms differently to women, whether it be severe depression and anxiety, prostate and testicular cancer, or increased risk of a heart attack or diabetes,” says ESSA CEO, Anita Hobson-Powell.
“One positive, though, is that exercise - when expertly prescribed - can play a beneficial role across all of these conditions and more.”
The eBook outlines a variety of health conditions that are common to Australian men aged 18-64 and the role exercise can play in managing and preventing them.
Vice president Brendan Joss points out that blokes tend to take the plunge into a new activity “with the vigour and intensity” they used from years ago. This may result in injury or difficulty maintaining that new exercise program.
The 63-page eBook provides handy tips and ideas on how to exercise and the benefits of establishing a good routine.
The Exercise Men’s Health eBook outlines recent facts about 12.4 million males in Australia from a 2017-2018 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) snapshot.
57% of men rated their health as excellent or very good
46% of men also said they had 1 or more of 10 selected conditions: mental and behavioural problems, back problems, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart, stroke and vascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoporosis and chronic kidney disease.
7.1% had three or more.
Physical Activity Guidelines
Being active is not a nice to have, it’s fast becoming accepted as an essential factor reducing disease and living a healthier, happier life.
Adults should aim to be active every day and include muscle-strengthening activities at least two times a week.
The eBook explains how blokes can measure the intensity of the exercise they are undertaking. It also matches each health condition with recommended exercises. For example, to improve heart health and prevent CVD, try aerobic exercises and strength exercises.
Aerobic: walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and variations of these such as golf or tennis.
Strength: lifting weights, using machines, rubber bands, balls or simple equipment such as a part bench or wall. [The book emphasises the importance of getting an assessment and designed program for people with CVD].
The eBook takes into account the best times for exercising, for example, if someone is taking insulin for diabetes treatment, they would want to avoid exercise during peak insulin action. And while prostate cancer patients with higher physical activity levels experience a lower rate of death from prostate cancer overall, they should seek a targeted exercise prescription, “which includes behaviour change advice and support”.
Exercise for new dads
The ebook points out that up to 1 in 10 fathers experience post-natal depression and highlights a number of resources that support new dads with embedded links throughout, for example PANDA’s section on perinatal and depression in men.
“Dads are important role models and facilitators for good eating habits and physical activity levels,” notes the eBook, providing a number of ideas to make physical activity a part of every day family life.
Exercising at work
Similarly, moderate to high intensity exercises in the workplace should be high on the daily agenda in order to:
Reduce stress levels
Keep muscles and joints healthy
Manage cardiovascular risks
Recommended exercises differ depending on whether a job is largely physical or mostly sedentary.
While encouraging participation in team sports, the eBook shows men how to prevent injuries and where to turn if they do experience a painful pop or other mishaps as a result of taking part.
There are also tips for men aged 65 and over, starting with at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day. The manual shows exactly how this habit can be maintained, tackling key reasons for lack of motivation and other barriers to making change happen.
“The number one motivator for men to participate in physical activity or sport was for their health and fitness," state the authors. "By overcoming these barriers and increasing your exercise levels, even if you start small and work your way up, you’re going to be improving your health and fitness in a large variety of ways.”