Physiotherapists and other healthcare practitioners receive a lot of emails and have a lot of conversations about health and wellbeing. As a male physio, I hear lots of feedback from my male clients and guys attending my pilates classes about some of the issues we face – and most information out there is geared towards women – fact.
So, fellas, this is all about us, right?!
It is not a coincidence that Men’s Health week is in the same week as Fathers Day, it was planned this way by US congress in 1994 to bring awareness to preventable health problems and to encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys.
Did You Know?
Compared to females, more males suffer from lifestyle-related health conditions such as heart attacks and diabetes. A study from The National Pharmacy Association found that men are less likely to visit the GP or seek treatment when sick.
– 66% of men are overweight or obese (BMI > 25)
– Participation in exercise among men declines with age
– 45% of men report work commitments as a barrier to increasing their physical activity
As a Physio and Pilates instructor, I am involved daily in assessing, treating and advising men in their physical health. Whether this is to aid recovery from sporting injuries, or providing advice to improve fitness and prevent injuries when starting to exercise when there has been a gap or break in fitness.
The effects of physical activity should not be underestimated. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of major illness such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. Physical exercise feels good. It boosts feel-good chemicals that can improve your self-esteem, mood, energy, sleep quality and reduce your stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s my top 6 tips for improving your physical health.
1. See a Physiotherapist
Is an injury standing in the way of your peak physical health?
Are you worried about joining a class because you injured yourself the last time you tried?
See a physiotherapist to prevent or manage any injuries before pursuing an activity. We can examine your movement, muscle strength and function and evaluate any weaknesses that may need addressing. Your physio should work with you to help you achieve your goals. Being proactive may prevent pain, wasted money and time off work.
2. Stay active during the day
Walk, run or cycle on your commute. Get a standing desk, take the stairs not the lift. Use a fitness tracker to monitor your activity.
3. Holistic fitness
Cross-training is important, variety is the key. Include different modes of training such as aerobic, strength, mobility and coordination. Consider the man that runs x 5 per week but can’t shake off the Achilles tightness. Incorporating strength work in the gym and swimming (non-weight bearing exercise) works the same muscles allowing some recovery.
Pilates to strengthen the powerhouse for your limbs to move on, and lengthen your spine and muscles. By using different muscle groups and training them in a different way you prevent overuse, injury and improve overall fitness.
Consider yoga, pilates, running or strength training. Walking, cycling, swimming or rowing. Find something you enjoy and work at it.
4. Find a fitness buddy
If you are feeling uninspired or lack motivation, consider asking a partner, workmate or friend to join you in your fitness journey. Your fitness partner can provide support and keep you accountable when you are not feeling up to it.
5. Stretch, stretch, stretch
If you have a desk job and sit down all day, you may think that stretching is not important as you are not active. We are designed to move, not sitting still for long hours. Overtime prolonged hours sitting can lead to tightness in the lower back, hip flexors and hamstring muscles. In addition to this, using a computer or writing leads to tightness in muscles of the forearm and neck and shoulders.
Getting and moving regularly is important and can make a difference to work-related aches and pains.
A morning/evening routine consisting of stretches, yoga poses or Pilates-based exercises is a good place to start. A physiotherapist can issue you with a home programme to do throughout the day.
Rest is just as important as training!
Give yourself permission to take a break. Doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep. Another important part of managing stress is maintaining a positive mental attitude. Meditation is one way to help improve your health and wellbeing.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information. Please share with any guys in your life who may find this useful.
As you know, myself and the team at Tayloredfit are here to help, for advice, treatments or classes.
Let us know if we can help you with your health and fitness goals by emailing us here
Alternatively, check out our latest timetable here
See you soon, stay well.
Mark Smith, lead physio and owner, Tayloredfit Physio, specialising in acupuncture, pilates and craniosacral therapy.