09 Feb It’s time to tackle the stereotypical Aussie male
This may be a very stereotypical day for a middle aged male but I think there maybe several aspects of this scenario that resonate with most Australian blokes.
It’s 5am, the sun is yet to rise but 45 year old Trevor is starting his day. He rolls out of bed feeling like he could have slept for another 8 hours and gets dressed. Eating breakfast is not a priority for him, he needs to be at work by 5.30am.
It’s now 10.30am, before Trevor has his first meal of the day and the food truck has just pulled up, feeling famished Trevor orders a meat pie, 5 fried dim sims and an iced coffee and devours the lot without a second thought. As his day continues, his stress reaches an all time high and he is pressed for time so he consumes 4 coffees with 2 teaspoons of sugar in each just to get through the day. At 3.30pm he knocks off to pick the kids up from school and picks up a snack of 2 donuts and a mars bar from the servo on the way. Trevor arrives home exhausted and his 15-year-old boy asks him to kick the footy. Trevor would love to but he gets puffed just walking outside these days and has no energy to get off the couch. He has put on 30 kg since hanging up his own footy boots 10 years ago and that was probably the last time he exercised.
It’s now dinnertime, and Trevor’s wife piles up his plate with a huge serving of whatever is on the menu that night and he always goes back for a second helping. Once the wife and kids are in bed Trevor enjoys this time to relax…and eat, he unconsciously consumes all the snack food while lounging on the couch watching the footy show and drinks 6 stubbies.
Trevor heads to bed at 11pm and will be up in 6 hours to do this again.
Does this sound familiar?
Traditionally, the culture of the Aussie bloke is to be so tough and independent that some men believe that seeing a doctor or complaining of feeling ill is a threat to their masculinity.
The perspective of how we as a society see men is slowly changing. This is great but there still is a culture where men aren’t open and actively involved in their health.
In a media release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in November 2016, due to these small changes in our culture there has been some positive progression for men’s health stats;
- Average life expectancy has increased from 75 years in 1995 to 80.4 years
- Daily smoking rates have dropped 27% in 1995 to 17% today
- Risky drinking has dropped from on third of men in 2004-05 to around one quarter of mean drinking more than two standard drinks per day
However, the main concern in relation to men’s health is that figures showing 71% of men aged 18 years and above are now classified as overweight or obese. This has increased from 64% in 1995.
The problem of growing concern now is increased weight and low physical activity is causing multiple health concerns, which increases the prevalence of;
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol levels
- Coronary artery disease (most common heart disease)
- Premature mortality (death)
Alright blokes, so what can be done?
The statistics are important to understand but more importantly is how can we actively improve the individual blokes health.
I have worked with a lot of blokes wanting to change their lifestyles and together we formulated these 10 helpful tips to make small, achievable changes to their lifestyle.
Simple tips for blokes wanting to get fit;
- Discuss the change with your significant other to create a support system
- If you don’t have time for breakfast, take a protein shake to work with you
- Take your lunch to work, those little steam packets of veggies are great
- Use every opportunity to increase your incidental exercise i.e. take the stairs or park your car further away from your destination
- Have a chat with a close mate, chances are they feel the same way and you won’t feel alone on this journey
- Walk around the footy oval/netball court while your kid is training instead of sitting in the car
- Include your family in an exercise plan e.g. Sunday afternoon walks
- Change to a low carbohydrate beer and slowly cut down the amount of alcohol consumed during the week
- Eat a meal prior to attending events with friends/colleagues to avoid unnecessary snacking
- Complete a food diary to become aware of unconscious eating
By taking small, manageable steps to changing your lifestyle you will slowly begin to feel and look better. Lifestyle changes don’t have to be hard and complex, it’s all about little the things that turn into great transformations! Always consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist if you have any concerns about exercising.