11 Jun Why Exercise is Important for Men
There is a wide range of benefits for being active and including exercise or physical activity into daily routines. Exercise plays a vital role in keeping Australian blokes healthier, happier and alive for longer.
THE HEALTH OF AUSSIE MEN:
In 2018, there were 12.4 million men in Australia—making up 49% of the country’s population. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) offers a snapshot of their health from 2017–18:
- 57% of Australian men rated their health as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’
- Nearly 1 in 2 Australian men have experienced a mental health problem in their life
- It is estimated that men account for 54% of all new cancer cases
- 7 in 10 Australian men are overweight or obese
THEIR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LEVELS:
It was reported that in men aged 18 and over:
- 1 in 2 (50%) were sufficiently physically active (includes workplace activity).
- 1 in 4 (25%) did strength or toning activities on two or more days.
Overall, under 1 in 5 (17%) were sufficiently physically active and met the muscle strengthening guidelines.
While the most common reasons given by men for not being physically active are insufficient time because of work or family commitments, lack of interest, age, or ongoing injuries or illness, it’s important to remember that any physical activity is better than no physical activity!
HOW MUCH EXERCISE SHOULD MEN BE DOING?
Adult men (aged 18–64) should be active most days, preferably every day. Each week, adults should do either:
- 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity (such as a brisk walk, golf, mowing the lawn, or swimming)
- 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity (such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, or playing soccer or football)
Or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities
It’s important to also include muscle-strengthening activities as part of your daily physical activity on at least two days each week.
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE:
Some of the health benefits for men who exercise include:
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Lower cholesterol
- Reduced depression and anxiety
- Lower risk of high blood pressure
- Healthier blood vessels
- Weight loss
- Improved testosterone levels as you age
- Lower risk of cancers such as colon or prostate cancer
A MESSAGE FOR MEN:
Watch this video to hear from a range of everyday Australian men and their thoughts on exercising.
FLEXIBILITY MATTERS TOO!
Flexibility is also an important benefit for keeping active. To improve their range of motion and be able to extend further than what they can do now, it’s important that men don’t ignore flexibility work.
Flexibility can give men the ability to use the full potential of their muscles which will then help with muscle growth.
IT’S ABOUT WHAT BEST SUITS YOU:
The great news is that men don’t need to be “gym junkies” in order to gain access to these benefits. While working out in a gym environment might suit some people, it’s not necessarily for everyone. There are a variety of ways to meet the physical activity guidelines and still gain the above benefits.
Plus, the most effective way to stick to an exercise routine is by choosing movement that you enjoy and works the major muscle groups – whether it be playing cricket, going surfing, heading to the gym, running with music, or going on a long hike.
CHECK OUT OUR MEN’S HEALTH EBOOK:
This latest eBook by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has been designed to encourage Australian men to become more active for their physical and mental health. It also covers the benefits of exercise for a wide range of common conditions adult men may encounter.
SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS:
It is important to find opportunities for physical activity every day in as many ways as you can. A variety of exercises including resistance/strength training and cardiovascular/aerobic activity is important. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can help you get started and support you to stay on track.
It is particularly important to seek support of an exercise professional if you have chronic conditions. Appropriate exercise will play a big part in positively managing your health and well-being. Well managed chronic conditions can lead to improved sexual function!
Written by Exercise & Sports Science Australia. Peer reviewed by Exercise and Sports Science Professionals.