Men’s health 45+ – Fitness and fun
Written by David Willox
It is a curious fact that men are useless at taking care of their health! Particularly as they get older.
Perhaps in their youth, if they were enthusiastic sportsmen, they were almost obsessional about it, but as we get older, we just assume that our health will take care of itself. Frequently as we age our jobs become more sedentary, our relaxation is spent sitting down, our diet becomes a little unbalanced and we may even drink a little more than is good for us.
A downward Spiral
All this takes us into a downward spiral since everything is connected. Not getting enough exercise and eating more calories obviously results in weight gain, but the problems are not as simple as that.
Being overweight makes exercise harder, reduced muscle tone also makes it harder – so the couch and television seem more attractive. We spend less time out in the open air, resulting in lower levels of vitamin D, causing a host of issues such as the way we deal with stress, our bone density, feelings of fatigue and depression.
Lack of exercise results in loss of muscle mass, which produces a reduction in testosterone. Aside from the obvious effect on our sex lives, low testosterone affects things like sleep with an impact on our stress levels resulting in the production of higher levels of cortisol which encourages the body to gain weight.
The list of interactions goes on, which may seem like a counsel of despair.
A Virtuous Circle
In fact, the reverse is true. A few very small changes can make these interactions work for us: eat well, take a little more exercise, and we start to feel more energetic. We boost hormones like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins making us feel good. We start to enjoy being active, boosting muscle mass and increasing testosterone levels.
We handle stress better and our sleep improves. Incidentally, it is during sleep that the body responds to the exercise we have taken and builds that muscle mass.
All this also enhances our immune system, makes us less prone to many cancers, less likely to develop dementia, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
The prescription is simple; take some vigorous exercise – it doesn’t need to be excessive – and ensure you are at a healthy weight. You could start by losing weight, but that takes time to produce results. Exercise, on the other hand, is a paradox. As soon as you start doing it you will boost those hormones, feel you have more energy, sleep will improve, stress levels will decline, and you will have kick-started the process.
With the result you will have more fun!
And, by the way, these small changes could add upwards of 25 years (in my case it was over 300. If you want to confirm that figure, you can take a look at a calculator here