With June being Men’s Health month, we’d like to draw your attention to the fact that men’s health in Australia has great opportunities for improvement!
Yes, Australia ranks high in life expectancy rates when compared with populations around the world. However, Aussie men don’t seem to do as well – the stat suggests that for every two women who die, three men die.
Looking at the 2016 ABS data, you’ll see that many causes of death for Australian men (including the leading cause) are lifestyle-related diseases such as ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and diabetes.
As many of these death causes are lifestyle-related diseases, it means that they are PREVENTABLE, so we need to get our act together.
Well, ABS National Health Survey shows that only 5% of Aussie men eat sufficient fruits and vegetables, only 42% do sufficient physical activity, and a whopping 68% are overweight or obese. So how about we start with that? – good nutrition, exercise and weight management!
Great news: you can keep things simple by following these tips!
Cut down on processed foods and up your intake of fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Remember that you should aim for 2 cups of fruit and 5 cups of vegetable per day. Avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, sodium, cholesterol and added sugars. Be conscious of your portion sizes and how you feel after certain foods. Know the foods that nourish and energise your body, eat more of those, and minimise those that don’t.
Aim to do 30 minutes of exercise every day. There are plenty of ways to exercise, such as joining a team sport, group exercise class (you have so many options to here at Leap), running with your colleagues after work, and enjoying a weekend hike, bike ride or a round of golf.
Think about all the opportunities you can move in your day that, when combined, help towards your weekly exercise requirement. Bonus tip: housework can count towards your daily activity requirement in the form of high intensity incidental physical activity (HIIPA). Get the vacuum out, guys!
Prefer to exercise on specific days? You can choose to play a sport or do a workout class for one hour, three times per week.
Get regular check-ups
Find a doctor with whom you feel comfortable, and book regular check-ups. (We recommend choosing GPs with a holistic approach). Don’t put it off until there’s something wrong. Maintaining good health is an ongoing, proactive effort. Your doctor will be able to help you navigate lifestyle changes to help you get better results.
Don’t hide behind your armour
There’s a societal stereotype that men should be ‘strong’, that ‘men shouldn’t show emotion or vulnerability’. We’re subliminally told men are tough, resilient, and don’t need to talk about feelings like women do.
This archaic view is unhelpful, as both women and men need to invest in mental health strategies. Simple mental ‘work-outs’ to keep you emotionally healthy:
- spending time with friends
- recognising your emotions, and verbalising them
- exercising and moving your body
- getting enough sleep
- eating well
- managing stress
- knowing where to go for help!
If you’re a man reading this, please value your health, take into consideration all of the above, and plan for your healthier lifestyle. If you’re a woman who values the men in her life (dad, brothers, sons, partners, friends or colleagues), give them that bit of encouragement that they might need to get started.
As always, our team here at Leap is keen to help you with your health and wellbeing journey so feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.