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Men’s Health: Why exercise matters this Movember | Blog | Maroubra Road Physiotherapy

It’s that time of year again. When men all over the world begin to sport fluffy facial hair on their upper lips. Movember sees the nation’s men band together to raise funds and awareness of men’s health. It’s a big topic and sadly one that isn’t discussed enough in circles of blokes.

The statistics about men and health are pretty worrying. Which is all the more reason why Movember is really important. 

Men’s health in Australia: A snapshot

  • Men have a higher mortality rate from most leading causes of death.
  • 70% of Australian men are overweight or obese.
  • Men visit the doctor less frequently and have shorter visits, compared to women.
  • One in seven Australian men experiences depression or anxiety (or both) in any given year.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for men. They are four times more likely to take their own lives compared to women.
  • Six out of every eight suicides in Australia are men.
  • The number of men who die as a result of suicide in Australia is almost double the national road toll.

Despite this bleak picture, there are ways that men can proactively take control of their mental and physical health. And also for the women in their lives to support them to do this. Research shows that exercise is a powerful way to prevent and manage mental health challenges.

Why exercise is vital for men’s health

Exercise is one of the most effective ways that men can reduce and manage the symptoms of many chronic health problems such as depression, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Despite the benefits of exercise for mental and physical health, men in Australia simply aren’t moving enough. Around 51% of Australian men don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity.

Physical benefits

  • Regular exercise increases men’s cardiovascular fitness, strength, bone density, muscle mass and the mobility of joints and muscles.
  • It also improves energy levels and the ability to concentrate on complex tasks.
  • It positively impacts blood pressure and helps to regulate glucose levels.

Emotional benefits

  • Exercise releases ‘feel-good’ endorphins in the brain. It acts as a mood booster, can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as improve your quality of sleep.
  • Regular exercise can help with improving self-esteem and confidence.

Social benefits

  • Regular physical activity when done with other people helps men to develop friendships and to network with others, and communicate more about any challenges they are facing.

Exercise helps with many health conditions

  • Back health: Regular exercise can help to keep the back strong, through the regular movement, stability, posture and pelvic control.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Lowers the risk of heart disease and CVD by lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, aerobic capacity and endurance.
  • Mental health: If men play regular team sports, it helps them to develop social networks and social confidence. The endorphin release of exercise promotes feelings of well-being and reduces the amount of stress hormones released in the body, thereby helping with anxiety.
  • Diabetes: Helps to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin efficiency.
  • Erectile dysfunction: One recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that exercise has a protective effect on sexual function for men under the age of 40. Men who have active lifestyles are likely to have better erectile function than men who don’t regularly work out.
  • Obesity: Helps to regulate weight, increase cardiovascular fitness and muscle mass.
  • Arthritic conditions: Regular exercise promotes musculoskeletal resilience, joint mobility, range of movement, and strengthens connective tissue and muscle around joints.

How much exercise is optimal?

The Department of Health has recommendations for how much exercise men should get every week.

  • 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise each week. For example running, walking, cycling, gardening, group sports activities.
  • At least two muscle strengthening sessions. For example body weight exercises, circuit training in the park or in the gym or in groups.

This equates to around 5 x 30 minute exercise sessions per week. This exercise prescription might sound overwhelming. However remember that the working day provides a lot of opportunities to get moving more, in Movember and all of the time.

Variations on this will occur depending on an individual’s fitness, age, and the existence of other health conditions. It’s always a good idea to get advice and guidance from a physiotherapist if you have any concerns about the exercise programme you have started, to ensure that you are taking the right preventative measures against sports injuries. Speak with the helpful and professional team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy today on 02 9314 3888 or book an appointment online.

Tips to get moving this Movember

Here are some ways that men can inject more exercise into every day.

  • Grab a mate for a cycle or a run together. Exercising when others are relying on you to show up, increases the likelihood that you will stick to it.
  • Take the stairs instead of using the lifts. This is essentially a stair-master in your own office building.
  • Park the car further from your workplace and walk each day.
  • Go and grab a coffee outside of the office with a colleague and then have a ‘walking meeting’ instead of a normal sit-down meeting.
  • Get off the bus or train a few stops earlier during the morning or evening commute and walk from there.
  • Choose to walk to do errands during lunch hour instead of driving around.
  • Offer to do in-office errands in order to get away from your desk during part of the day. You will also get brownie points for being so helpful to team-mates.

Source:  https://www.menshealthweek.org.au/events/resources/male-health-infographics

One research study by the Black Dog Institute found that just 1 hour of exercise each week is shown to have a positive impact on a person’s mental health. So get moving this Movember!

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy would love to see men prioritising their health and finding the time to move more, not only in Movember but in 2020 and beyond! If you would like our advice on how to improve your fitness and regular exercise habits, get in touch with us today for an appointment via our online booking form or call 02 9314 3888.

References

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2018) Why Exercise Matters this Movember

Emory University (2012) Exercise may protect against erectile dysfunction. The Conversation

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2018) Why exercise is important for men’s health

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2018) How exercise keeps men alive, longer

The Black Dog Institute & UNSW (2017) One hour of exercise per week can prevent depression

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas: Sweat Together & Stay Together

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas: Sweat Together & Stay together

Regular exercise is one of the most beneficial things that any couple can do together. It’s a fun and healthy way of bonding, and creating great memories. Working out together also wards off many chronic diseases and disorders, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and obesity.

Loads of research backs up the notion that couples who sweat together, stay together. One study from Indiana University found that married couples who joined a health club together have only a 6.3% drop-out rate, compared to couples who worked out separately. The latter group had a 43% drop-out rate over the course of a year.

Mutual health goals help you to build stronger bonds with your partner. With this in mind, here are some great athletic Valentine’s Day date ideas.  

A hiking adventure

Australia has hundreds of beautiful national parks with well-provisioned walking trails and gorgeous scenery. Walking or hiking trails range from easy to advanced. So this is a good form of exercise that most people of all fitness levels and ages can enjoy.  So grab your compass, decent hiking shoes, a picnic and your significant other and go exploring.

A romantic cycling trip

Australia has over 16,000 mapped cycling routes throughout our vast country. Whether you want to go for a city cycle or take a trip of a lifetime to Ayers Rock or Tasmania, Australia is a cyclist’s paradise and offers a fun Valentine’s Day date option. Don’t forget to bring water, food and plenty of sunscreen. An outback tour by bike is best reserved for experienced cyclists because of the complete isolation of the desert.

An indoor rock climbing challenge

City-dwelling couples with less time for a Valentine’s Day date should consider indoor rock-climbing. It’s not weather dependent and the facilities are all over the place in major cities. Also it’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and strength, while also requiring input from your partner. While one of you climbs, the other one belays the ropes.

A swimming, sauna and spa visit

Treat yourself to a bit of luxury and pampering together by visiting a day spa or health centre. Enjoy a swim together in the pool followed by a sauna, spa treatment and a massage. It’s guaranteed to make you both feel loved, cherished and relaxed afterwards.

Kayaking along the coast

Australia has over 35,000 kilometres of coastline. With so much beach to choose from, you can easily find a place outside of major cities where you can enjoy a kayak together on a deserted romantic beach.  A double kayak is a great way to improve your cardiovascular strength and upper body strength, while also enjoying the wild beauty of the Australian coast.

Warming up and warming down to prevent injury

The expression ‘No pain, no gain’ is really silly when it comes to exercise! To prevent injury, you should listen for the warning signs in your body. Pain is your body’s way of warning you that something is not right.

Common musculoskeletal injuries such as strains, sprains, joint injuries and back pain can be prevented with warm ups. These stretches should last approximately 10 minutes in duration. Warm ups are important because they:  

  • Slowly boost your heart rate and breathing rate.
  • Increase the blood flow to working muscles.
  • Warm up your muscles and improve their elasticity, preparing your body for exercise.

After your workout, a cool down stretch is also important. This could be static stretches (static holding of positions for 10-30 seconds) or dynamic stretches (moving the body through a full range of motion). Both kinds of cool down stretches help you to maintain your flexibility in your muscles, tendons and joints.

If you have forgotten about warm ups and cool down exercises and sustained an injury, it may be time for you to visit the experienced team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

Don’t go from zero to hero

If you or your partner are starting from zero exercise and plan on jumping straight into a very athletic Valentine’s date, you should first consider any pre-existing health conditions or injuries you may have.

The friendly team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will be able to provide you with an assessment of your musculoskeletal condition.  We will also be able to provide you with expert advice on what kind of Valentine’s date would be most suitable for the both of you.

If either one of you are experiencing pain, it’s a good idea to book an assessment by Maroubra Road Physiotherapy before your athletic Valentine’s Day date.

References

Psychology Today (2014) The Reasons Why Couples Who Sweat Together Stay Together  

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2017) Exercise Right: Top 5 Active Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University (1995). Twelve month adherence of adults who joined a fitness program with a spouse vs without a spouse.

Health Education Research (2008) The role of collective efficacy in exercise adherence: a qualitative study of spousal support and type 2 diabetes management.

PLoS One (2013) Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples.

How to travel in comfort and avoid injury during a holiday

Great weather is finally here and most people are contemplating going away on holidays over the summer. If you’re going away to a far-flung location – you lucky thing! Make sure you read Maroubra Road Physiotherapy’s comprehensive guide to staying safe and looking after yourself and your family overseas.

Between 2016-2017 the Australian government’s consular services supported 1,701 Australians who got into trouble and were hospitalised far from home. In this article, we will provide you with a run-down of all the things you should consider to avoid injuries this silly season.

Choose a destination that’s safe

Some parts of the world are statistically more high risk for a holiday than others. Things that we take for granted in Australia like safe roads, law and order and political stability often don’t apply in other parts of the world. The Australian government’s Safe Traveller website can give you up-to-date safety insights for your dream destination.   

What to avoid on your next holiday

Here’s some food for thought, According to Bupa, these are the most common injuries or illnesses suffered by Australian tourists at popular tourist destinations. It’s worth keeping this in mind.

 

  • Thailand: Head Injuries from motorcycle and scooter accidents.  
  • Indonesia/Bali: Gastroenteritis.
  • France: Cycling accidents.
  • Singapore: Rabies and bacterial infections as a result of monkey bites.
  • Philippines: Parasitic water-borne viruses.
  • China and Mongolia: Respiratory and breathing problems.

 

Know your physical limitations

Often when we go on holidays, we can feel temporarily invincible. We’re away from the normal working week, so we feel more energised and bolder than usual. Holidays are often times when we try risky activities like free-diving, surfing in turbulent waters, mountain climbing or something else that tests our physical limits. This can be a grave mistake when not prepared for it and may result in injury or even worse!

Mentally you may feel emboldened by your sudden energy, but actually, you haven’t trained in the lead-up to your physically challenging activity and have overestimated your fitness. This is when strains, sprains, sporting injuries and back injuries often happen. In planning your adventure in the months prior, you should gradually increase your fitness levels and choose sport specific exercises that use the same muscle groups as your chosen activity. A personal trainer or physiotherapist will be able to provide advice for this.  

Advice for long-haul flights

Part of Australia’s charm is the multi-cultural diversity of its population.  For some people, this may mean up to 28 hours on a flight to get to their loved ones over Christmas. Long-haul flights can be the most boring and gruelling part of a holiday. You can make traipsing across multiple time-zones more enjoyable and less painful by following this advice.  

 

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine on the flight. Along with the pressurised cabin, these drinks will dehydrate you and leave you feeling more tired than you otherwise would.
  • Try and get some shut eye. Many people often take a sedative like Ambien or Valium on a long-haul flight. Yes you will probably sleep, but when you arrive, you will still feel groggy and half-asleep, which isn’t fun.
  • Invest in a decent pair of noise-cancellation headphones. These are designed to block out all ambient noise. You can comfortably listen to a relaxing album or podcast until you fall asleep. Planes are surprisingly loud. Blocking out all the ambient noise will make a long-haul flight far less stressful and tiring.     
  • Drink a lot of water to rehydrate your body. Before, during and after your flight, staying hydrated will make you feel more energised.
  • Don’t stay stationary for long periods of time. Instead, get up every hour, move and stretch.

 

Stretches on the plane

The key to feeling great after a flight is to do some leg work. Hours staying stationery in a confined place will mean that your blood becomes stagnated in the body causing swelling in the feet and ankles and in some cases, resulting in the dangerous DVT or deep vein thrombosis.

1. Fifteen calf raises every few hours

You should do some in-seat stretches every hour or two. A calf raise involves pushing up onto your toes and engaging your calf muscles. Then, if space allows, lift your legs so they are outstretched in front of you and flex your feet, hold for 20 seconds, and repeat.

2. Hamstring and glute exercise every hour  

The muscles in your hamstrings and glutes naturally shorten on a flight when you are stationery for many hours. This can cause pain and soreness in your lower torso. To help relieve soreness and pain, put your heel up onto the top of your opposite knee and push down on your leg to get a good stretch in your glute.

 

3. Neck and shoulder exercise every hour

Sitting down in a cramped position for many hours always leads to tension in the neck and shoulders. To alleviate this, do five shoulder rolls forward and then five backward, then turn your neck to the right and back to the centre five times and then turn it to the left and back to the centre 5 times. Try and do this every hour.

4. After your flight

Walking through the terminal after the long flight will help to loosen and warm up your muscles again. Then once you arrive in your hotel (Phew, finally!) you should do a gentle stretching or a gentle yoga routine to release tension in the legs, hips and lower back. This will help to re-energise you, help with jetlag and prepare you for sleep. For more advice on stretching and pain relieving exercises, speak with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy can help

If you arrive back in Sydney after a holiday full of aches and pains, book an appointment today with our friendly team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you like and share this with someone on Facebook who is going on holiday soon. Bon Voyage!

 

Do You Want To Start Exercising? A Few Simple, Practical Steps To Get You on Your Way

 

Do You Want To Start Exercising?

If you want to start an exercise program to improve your fitness levels, strength and conditioning, it is often hard to know where to start. The gym can often seem intimidating, expensive, or time consuming. You don’t have to start there. Instead, start by making small changes to your daily habits and include more activity.

A good place to start is:

  • Avoid the lift and take the stairs! Stairs are a GREAT way to get those muscles working.
  • Park a bit further than your intended destination and get walking.
  • Walk/cycle to work.

Take the plunge and start an exercise regime! Your program doesn’t need to be done every day. It can be as simple as a 15 minute walk around the block every other day, and gradually build from there. Any amount of activity that you do in a day, no matter how small, is going to make a difference. Just think, it is more exercise than you would have done previously.

IMPORTANT CHECKLIST:

  1. Have a chat with your Doctor – Discuss your plans with your doctor to ensure you are safe to start an exercise program.
  2. Get the appropriate gear – Wear correct footwear and don’t carry heavy bags to avoid developing injuries. You can read more on our blog here
  3. Document your progress – Use an exercise diary or an app on your phone and set realistic and achievable goals for yourself.
  4. Consult your physiotherapist to prescribe an exercise program that meets your needs and sets you on the right track.

A common question is, “How much should I be exercising a week?” That depends on the individual and on your age, medical condition, and previous exercise history. It is better to start off slowly and gradually build your exercise tolerance.

Make the start today and enjoy the benefits of being more active!