Why We Need To Talk About Men’s Health.
This Week is Men’s Health Week (15th – 21st June 2020)
Each year the Men’s Health Forum focuses on raising awareness of health problems in males and championing early prevention and detection of illnesses and disease. They choose one focus each year and this year it is, unsurprisingly, COVID-19.
Shockingly, early studies have shown that men are 2 x more likely to die from contracting COVID-19 than women. While there isn’t enough scientific research yet to fully pinpoint why this is the case it is undoubtably a stark statistic showing why it is so vital that we start talking about men’s health.
Helpfully here is a wealth of information on the Men’s Health Forum website on how to practise safe social distancing, how to speak to your employer about getting appropriate measures put in place for your return to work, lifestyle changes which will reduce your risk of contracting the virus and more which you can access here.
This year, one of the key messages is: ‘Take Action to Beat Underlying Conditions’ and this is something we are particularly passionate about as part of the Functional Fitness/ CrossFit industry. Working on overall health and fitness can be a vital factor in making sure men can both prevent and recover from illnesses more effectively, including COVID-19.
With gyms and boxes across the country still closed for now there is a risk of some people choosing to put off working out for a few months until the box reopens without restrictions. However, having months of no exercise and indulging in unhealthy foods can start to be detrimental to our health.
Why Fitness Is Key For Men’s Health
Last year’s Men’s Health Week looked at how diabetes affects men disproportionately to women. In fact, middle aged men are twice as likely as women to develop type 2 diabetes. This is considered to be due largely to the fact that men need to gain far less weight than women do to be susceptible to the risks of diabetes. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is key for improving metabolic health and reducing the risk of these deadly diseases in males.
From reducing the risk of diabetes, to lowering cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure and developing stronger bones and encouraging improved testosterone levels there are clearly huge health benefits to working out. Being active can help prevent serious illness and disease.
In fact, just 30 minutes of exercise a day can reduce the risk of diabetes by 30%. Now, with many CrossFit gyms offering Zoom home sessions, and some slowly beginning to open back up for small group classes outdoors, it’s the ideal time to start making working out part of your everyday routine.
If you’re reading this and you’re NOT yet part of a CrossFit/ Functional Fitness community, or are worried about physically going back to the gym, get in touch with your local box. Many are now offering different membership options to cater for all different circumstances and you will be able to work with them to find a way to start your fitness regime back up – either from home, or even one-to-one outdoor PT sessions which are now being introduced.
If you ARE regularly participating in at home CrossFit style sessions then keep attending those classes and reaping the health benefits.
Can CrossFit Really Tackle Male Health Issues?
A study carried out by the Ohio State University Department of Human Sciences looked into CrossFit specifically and how effective it really was for fitness. The study followed men on a 10-week CrossFit training programme and looked at analysing levels of body composition and aerobic fitness.
Once the programme had finished, the men in the study carried less fat and more muscle, but more than this, they had all made “significant improvements” in their VO2 Max levels, meaning that they were able to train at max intensity for much longer. VO2 max means a person’s maximal oxygen uptake. In other words, it’s to do with the maximum rate of oxygen we can use and utilise during exercise of increasing intensity. Improving your VO2 max can improve the health of your blood, lungs and heart.
The good news for CrossFitters reading this is is that the type of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts and intensity we regularly do at CrossFit known for boosting your VO2 max. This means not only will you be consistently lowering harmful excess fat levels and improving your overall health but by taking part regularly you will be working on improving your performance too. (Hello PRs!)
What Are Other Benefits of CrossFit for Men?
We looked at the stress reducing benefits of CrossFit/ Functional Fitness style workouts and the chemicals that are released during a workout in our ‘World Health Day blog’ which is well worth a read. Alongside these lovely happy chemicals that are released, a CrossFit workout in particular has even more to offer.
The Men’s Health forum focuses on ‘The Five Ways to Wellbeing’ which are:
To Be Active
To Take Notice
Heading to the box (physically or virtually) for a workout provides so much of these five steps all in one. Not only are they places to connect and communicate with like-minded individuals, but getting stuck into a sweaty WOD helps us to stay in the present moment, be active and learn new techniques too.
What Can I Do Today?
Do something for your health today and your future self will thank you for it.
- Drink more water – staying hydrated is important for all aspects of our health. You should be aiming for about 8 glasses throughout the day, but even a small increase to what you drink at the moment can work wonders.
- Address your diet – focus on reducing your added sugar intake (less sugary snacks) and eat a balanced diet for healthy fats, proteins and fibre. Try to think of eating to fuel and energise your body. Again, if you’re a member of a CrossFit gym speak with your coach about the best ways to incorporate a healthier diet.
- Get enough sleep – GET YOUR 8 HOURS. Sleep is vital to our overall health. By getting enough sleep your body can heal and repair damaged blood vessels. Sleep deficiency is unfortunately linked to increased risks of heart attacks, diabetes and other life threatening diseases so make that a priority in your life from today.
- Workout – we’ve covered the reasons why on this one enough here, but if you’re struggling for some inspiration remember to check out our BoxMate Home Library on the app for over 50 workouts you can do with little to no equipment. You can also access these for free on our Instagram page if you don’t have our app at your gym yet. Just click here @boxmateapp and check out our Home WODs highlight.
Thanks for reading. Please share with any men in your life who you think could benefit from learning more about the importance of exercise.
Wishing you health & happiness and sending out love and high fives,