Did you know that Yoga, this magical fitness craze, has been going on for over 5000 years? Did you know that in that time women have only been “cleared” to participate for the last 100-ish years?
The new semester for me starts in 8 days and I always look forward to seeing the new faces in my class. Especially the guys! Why? Because yoga as a practice started with men and I think it’s awful that women have put themselves up on a yoga pedestal and made it exclusive in many ways. I think it stinks that we make it exclusive to thin, able bodied, affluent women.
So, the next few days, OGB is about men’s health, fitness, yoga, Pilates, and stretching.
Men’s Health….Not the Magazine
I really don’t like Men’s Health Magazine, or most fitness based magazines in general because I feel like there are a lot of people out there trying to sell you something and only a small smattering who care about providing you with good, researched based information. Men are a different “special population” in the fitness industry than women. This isn’t one of those men are from Mars and women are from Venus debates. This is science fact.
In a general anatomy course you will learn about many differences in the human skeleton between men and women. Our bones are set differently, especially in the pelvis, which effects the lower extremities and how they perform certain movements. We often look at this factor for preventing knee injuries in women due to the Q-angle. However, there’s a lot of men’s health to consider when training clients, or writing a blog, or even just planning your own workout….Guys….I’m looking at you!
In my PT workshops I tease about the different mistakes in exercise that men and women make, but men’s health goes far beyond poor push-ups and weak/tight hamstrings. Men are less likely to visit the doctor when things are not well. They are more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease that leads to death and to die from cancer than women. They also tend to hide symptoms of depression more than women. Many of these things can be helped by regular and proper exercise.
Issues of major concern for men’s health:
Heart Disease – Some of this is genetically predetermined, but is also a factor of lifestyle choices like smoking, nutritional intake, and sedentary lifestyle. What are you doing to prevent heart disease?
It is suggested, by the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) that most adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise spread throughout the week. Ideally we’d be doing some sort of cardio activity in 30-60 minute bouts a few times each week. They also recommend resistance training at least twice per week.
Prostate Health – Again, genetic predisposition means that exercise cannot be the end-all in prevention of prostate cancer. However, lifestyle choices again play a part. What are you doing to protect your prostate health?
A 2014 study showed that 3 hours of brisk walking each week helped reduce the progression of the disease. IDEA Fitness Journal, in their 2014 review of this study, suggested that upping the intensity of exercise for clients who exercise moderately can add more benefits at the cellular and DNA levels as well as other areas of health.
Body Composition and Menopause – Did anyone else ever think it strange that menopause is not for men? Well, men actually do have a decline in their hormone levels with age as well. Additionally, these changes in hormones, lifestyle, added medications, and other contributing factors (like just plain getting older) play a part in muscle loss and alterations in body composition.
Because I’m a big proponent of body composition over weight as a measurement of fitness, I encourage all of my clients to focus on improving their resistance training efforts….Men included! Weight training and increases in muscle mass also effect bone density (men aren’t exempt from Osteoporosis), metabolic rates (how well you burn off excess calories), and hormone production. Resistance training can also improve your balance, coordination, and stability to prevent falls as you get older.
In general, regular exercise can be beneficial to men in many ways and I encourage you to read the full article by Megan Senger here
and consider the different ways in which men’s health is impacted by regular exercise. The next OGB Men’s Health post will talk more about Mind/Body exercises including Yoga and Pilates.
Men, why do you exercise?
What unique health concerns do you face?
Where do you get your fitness advice?