It’s international Men’s Health week (14-21 June). This week is all about creating awareness and promoting positive health in men. Nearly 50% of our clients are men between the ages of 35-60. They are typically highly motivated and busy entrepreneurs or executives working long 60 hour weeks while juggle work and family life.
These long hours and family responsibilities tend take priority, usually at the expense of their own health and fitness. We tend to do sedentary job roles, often causing weakening and shortening of the muscles at the front of the body, which can be a source of those annoying aches and pains that many experience if left untreated.
Then there’s that phrase that many men over the age of 35 have jokingly heard, “The Dad Bod”. It’s often taken in our stride but the reality is that carrying that extra weight while not maintaining muscle mass isn’t healthy and can lead to further health complications further down the line.
It’s true that on average men aren’t as healthy as women and die younger. Part of the reason for this is biological, but I believe their priorities and their lack of focus on health is a bigger problem. Research shows, men go to the doctor less than women and are more likely to have a serious condition when they do go. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. From the perspective of a coach it can be a challenge to overcome the male bravado / resistant attitude that some men have towards their health and fitness.
Men are at greater health risk, so what should men do about this?
Reduce Your Health Risk
There may be no 100% cure all for health risks, and a lot of it is down to biology, however we can take measures to reduce risk. This involves tweaking some dietary and lifestyle choices, starting with the fundamentals. This blog on the fundamentals of fitness will help.
The first fix is to reduce soft drinks and alcohol wherever possible and swap for water. Notice I said “reduce” and not “eliminate”. The reason for this is that you’re far more likely to adopt healthier habits by reducing the “bad stuff” instead of cutting them out entirely.
The same goes for food. There’s no need to deprive yourself of the foods that bring you enjoyment. Aim for that in moderation and add more healthy wholefoods. I recommend preparing home cooked meals, cooking in bulk and try staying away from ‘low fat’ ready meals as they tend to be far more expensive and sometimes not as healthy as advertised. I cover this in more detail in the blog ‘Do Slimming Clubs Work?‘
If you’re a smoker, one of the best things you can do for your health is quit smoking. Tobacco smoke still causes 90% of all lung cancers and even although cases are dropping, it’s still a big source of health issues in men.
Quitting smoking at any age reduces the risk for lung cancer. It can be challenging but absolutely worth the health gains that you’ll receive. There are also plenty of tools available to help you via the NHS. Your GP can tell you more.
In general most people don’t exercise enough. If we don’t move enough for the amount of food we eat then we store it as excess fat. The solution is to move more. This will help burn off more of more of the food we eat and stored fat, with the bonus of making us less vulnerable to the various health issues like heart disease or diabetes. This doesn’t need to be a massive instantaneous change. It can be introduced gradually with a daily 30 minute walk around the block. Even doing that will make a difference, and make you more confident to take it to the next level.
The next level could be longer walks, weight training, cycling, swimming, yoga, or even hiring a coach. Small changes that are adhered to consistently are always more effective than big changes that don’t last.
Exercise not only improves your physical health but also you’re mental health. Depression is a big issue for men. Currently suicide is the biggest killer in men under the age of 35 in the UK. Exercise is an incredible holistic treatment for this that could save lives.
If you’re unsure about how to go about improving your health and fitness, or maybe lacking the confidence to get started transforming yourself, then this is where we can help.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll arrange a 1-to-1 Success Session and come up with a plan to get you where you want to be. We’re here to help if you need it.
If you’re a man (or woman) who’s struggling with their health, Then I hope that this post has helped inspire you to make some changes that your body will thank you for.
Good luck, I’m cheering you on.
Until next time, “Strength for life”,
Davie McConnachie is Scotland’s leading health and wellness coach, multi-award-winning gym owner, motivational speaker, and the founder of DMC Fitness, a fitness education facility known as the premier choice for 1-2-1 personal training. He has inspired thousands of people to fall in love with fitness – his true mission in life.
In his own fitness journey, Davie has athletically competed in Mixed Martial Arts fighting for Scottish and British titles, boxed for Scotland’s top amateur boxing team, and competed internationally in Girevoy (kettlebell) Sport.
Diving into the world of sports and wellness has helped Davie to deal with his own inner demons. He. overcame many dark times using his own unique method to complete his cycle of H.E.A.L.I.N.G.