In our previous blog we introduced Men’s Health Week's theme of healthy habits and why this is so important to Australian men today. In this blog we are going to dive deeper into a few healthy habits we can all implement, what they are and how to get started.
Healthy Habit 1 - Check Ups
A great way to get started is setting up a regular visit to a GP, now this visit does not need to be every month but having a general check-up each year is a positive step in taking more control of your health. It will allow men to have a better understanding of their health and what they can do to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Healthy Habit 2 - Keeping Fresh
Small changes in our daily food intake can not only improve our physical health, but also our mental health too. As we mentioned in our previous blog, Australian men are not eating the required servings of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Setting up small changes of including more servings of fruits and vegetables into our meals will go a long way in creating healthier eating habits. As we have all heard before, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”.
Healthy Habit 3 - Keeping Active
Other healthy habits for us to consider is physical activity, again a majority of men in Australia are not meeting the national guidelines which in itself increase chronic disease risk. This reduced physical activity also negatively impacts the mental health of men in Australia too. Exercise has been proven to provide a major positive effect on mental health as well as our physical health. By starting to try and meet the national guidelines (discussed here) is another great step towards a healthier lifestyle.
As Exercise Physiologists our job is not just exercise prescription, but also education. Often that education involves finding ways to help our clients change their current habits, to try and include more of these healthy habits we've been discussing. We take the time in our sessions to get a better understanding of our clients goals, what motivates them and why, to ensure we set attainable goals together. An approach we have had great success with is setting smaller goals that lead towards our main goal. That way our goals don't look so far away, and we can start to build some really positive momentum towards our more long term goal, even when we do hit some speed bumps along the way, having these habits in place can keep us moving forwards.
As some of you may be aware, last year I tore my ACL and have been embarking on a long recovery back into playing sports. Now this rehab can take anywhere between 12-18 months and I can tell you that it has not been all smooth sailing for me. But being able to set up smaller goals all along this journey has helped me to stay committed to achieving this long term goal. I have felt like my goals have been progressing constantly throughout as I have achieved one after the other. Starting with simply being able to bend my knee, then being able to walk without any aid, walking pain-free, being able to squat, to jump, to run... etc. All of these successes has made it so I can see the progress and feel that sense of achievement on a consistent basis.
You might be thinking "Nick this is all well and good when you are achieving constantly, but what about when life gets in the way?"
And life will definitely get in the way at some point, it's as unavoidable as death and taxes. Throughout this journey of mine, things have absolutely gotten in the way, whether that be work, my social life, or even my knee itself. But having set twice weekly appointments with my own physio and exercise physiologists has helped me create some really positive habits around exercise and my rehab. Having someone there for me to help guide and support me through everything and set out a plan for me to follow has kept me on track. This has especially been the case when my knee has felt sore, swollen and to be honest absolutely shitty. Keeping up with this regular exercise, has allowed me not to go backwards, but to treat it for what it is a speed bump and come out of it feeling like I am still moving forwards.
Taking that first step.
The best first step that we can take is finding our reason to live a healthier lifestyle. It doesn't have to be to run a marathon, or break world records, it could just be to keep up with our kids and grandchildren, to not feel as stiff and sore after sitting at a desk all day, or just to feel healthier. Once we have this purpose for change, we can work backwards to set those smaller, more achievable goals to become a reality. As exercise physiologists we can help you develop those goals, create a plan with you to implement and support you in this process.
There are small changes we can start to make to improve our health and reduce the risk of developing chronic health disease. These changes can not only impact our life, but we can start to impact those around us. We can be a better role model to our children and grandchildren, to show them that these positive habits are important.
Once you have your reason come and see us at Simply Stronger and we'll help you make it a reality!
Why building healthy habits needs to be a priority for every male!
During the month of June we at Simply Stronger will be celebrating Men’s Health Week. This week is designed to encourage conversations with men and boys around men’s health, whilst also prompting them to take an active role in their health.
The theme of Men’s Health Week in 2023 is Healthy Habits. The idea is to educate and help men and boys to build healthy lifestyle habits that will protect their health long term.
Looking at the big picture of men's health.
In Australia, men have a lower life expectancy and a higher rate of chronic disease compared to women. In 2020 the leading cause of death in Australian men was coronary heart disease, dementia, and lung cancer. This is important for us to understand, especially when we look at the statistics around unhealthy habits in men.
Can We Change Habits?
The simple answer is, yes, of course you can!
However, changing these unhealthy habits is more easily said than done. Some of these unhealthy decisions have been engrained into individuals’ routines since they were young men, so they can be quite difficult to change. That is why it is important for men to know that they don't need to try and change these habits on their own. There are so many different health professionals available that are ready and willing to help, who have so much knowledge and understanding on the best ways to approach this with each individual.
So What's Stopping Us?
The unfortunate reality around this fact, is that men’s engagement with the healthcare system is often characterized by delayed access and shorter commitments to appointments. This can be due to the reduced desire to seek out assistance from others, including health professionals, as men are more likely to ask advice from family and friends concerning health issues.
This is why opening discussions around men’s health is so important in today’s world. We need to be open and aware of the impact an unhealthy lifestyle can have and of the help that is available to us. This will allow us to start moving towards a happier and healthier life.
So if you have questions around what healthy and unhealthy habits you might have, and how to start changing some of those negatives into positives. Its never too late to start having a conversion with the men around you, check in with them, you never know who else may have the same questions as you.
Our team of Exercise Physiologists are here to help guide you on this journey of change. Keep an eye out for our next blog that will go into more detail around the types of changes we can make, to start living with more healthy habits.
Simply Stronger - here to make exercise simple. Understanding why you should exercise is a giant step towards wanting to exercise.