Lift and lose it

One of the most common goals that we see with men attending Active Seniors is the desire to shed weight around their midline. This is a great goal as more than 60% of Australian adults are overweight, and the fat surrounding the abdominal area is the most dangerous because it surrounds important internal organs.

It is important when looking at your weight to also measure your waistline.

As we age muscle mass and fat tend to be unequally distributed around the body, so though you may weigh the same overall as you did before a large waistline from fat buildup can be balanced against, for example, reduced upper body muscle mass and result in a higher risk for metabolic disease. When looking at your waist measurement, anything greater than 94cm for men and 80cm for women puts you at an increased risk of this.

Be stronger, live longer

New research has suggested that rather than focusing so much on the weight you see when you step on the scales; we need to look into body composition. This means that we need to look at the make up of your weight, for example how much muscle mass and body fat you have in your body. This has been highlighted in research published in the American Journal of Medicine which has shown in older adults that a greater muscle mass may lead to a longer life (1).

Unfortunately as we age we generally start to lose our muscle mass. After the age of 30 this can occur at a rate of around 3–8% reduction in lean muscle mass per decade! This can be for a variety of reasons with a leading cause being the fact that often when we age we become more sedentary. Think about it. Are you as active as you were in your 20s?

Men and Osteoporosis

When people think about Osteoporosis they often think of a condition that predominantly affects women and is rare in men. Yes, Osteoporosis is more prevalent in females, however it is not rare in men, with approximately 250,000 Australian men suffering from Osteoporosis.

It is important that we recognise the prevalence in men because one in five men over 50 will be affected by an osteoporotic fracture and when these fractures do occur in men, they are more likely to lead to disability and mortality than when they occur in women.

Men and heart disease

Heart disease is a leading cause of mortality in men. According to the Heart Foundation, approximately 98 men in Australia have a heart attack every day and one in seven of those men die. One of the major risk factors is age so it is important that you get your heart health checked regularly and make yourself aware of other factors that can increase your risk so you can take steps to eliminate or minimise them.

If you are over the age of 45 and you haven’t already done so, you should book into the doctor and have your heart health checked. It is important to do this, even if you lead a healthy lifestyle and feel fine because heart disease can go undiagnosed, progress, and still be asymptomatic until it is too late.

Prostate cancer and exercise

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australia, with over 20,000 new cases being diagnosed and approximately 3,300 deaths annually. This number of deaths is very similar to the number of women who die from breast cancer. It is most common in senior men with the risk increasing as you age.

Exercise plays an important role in improving quality of life for people with prostate cancer as it can reduce symptoms, side effects of radiation and drug therapy, improve psychological health and even reduce the risk of death.

Men and Mental Health

People often think that being healthy means having good physical health, forgetting a large part of being healthy means having good mental health and wellbeing also. Although they can be related with therapies like exercise leading to both a better physical and mental health, they both are managed and treated in different ways. It is important that we talk about mental health issues in men because often mental illness goes unidentified and untreated with research suggesting that only just over a quarter of men with a mental health condition seek help.