I know this might sound like an obvious statement, but over the years at Active Seniors we have seen many men give up on their health as they don’t see the point in keeping fit as age takes it’s toll on their body. We understand the challenges that ageing brings, however we have seen hundreds of men continue to remain active and healthy, both physically and mentally, some right into their late nineties.
One of the most common traits with these men is their desire to keep going and continue to learn. “Every day is a school day” was an expression taught to me by one of these men, referring to this continually growth.
I think this works on two levels. Firstly, the brain needs continual stimulation for it to remain healthy. Most people think that puzzles, crosswords and the like are the best way to keep the brain sharp, but in reality, learning something new is the ideal. Secondly, people value their self worth by the value they bring. If they are continuing to help and contribute, they feel better about themselves.
This applies in particular to men with their physical wellbeing. Many men are conscious that they are past their prime and as a result, feel less than they were. Another joking expression that I have seen on a tshirt is “The older I get, the faster I was”. It is a little tongue in cheek, but many men that I speak to feel this way. I know that not being able to do something that you have previously been able to do, or to that level, is quite disheartening. This could be simple things like doing work around the house or yard, or playing a particular sport or activity.
The key to this is taking positive action. When we focus on remaining physically active, we not only feel better physically, but also mentally and emotionally. The evidence around this is overwhelming. Unfortunately for men, our experience shows us that men are less likely to take positive action than women. For instance, depression rates are higher in women than in men, but men have a significantly higher suicide rate. This is believed to be due to that men are less likely to seek help than women.
So what can you do to get yourself feeling better and remain active? What I would suggest is to pick an activity you enjoy doing and to do it with a friend. I’ve recently begun training with best mate doing weights in my lunch break. We aim for 1-2 times a week and it has made a huge difference to us both. I also play soccer in a social comp one night a week with my brothers and some friends. Interestingly enough my dad also plays in a walking soccer with his mates once a week and he loves it. There are so many masters and modified competitions to suit people of all ages.
I also have set myself the challenge of doing 60 push ups a day over the month of Movember (typo intentional), recognising the 60 men we lose to suicide every hour across the globe. The challenge is a good way to try something new and the focus is on maintaining my strength. I encourage you to set yourself a challenge which allows you to form a new habit which you can maintain and feel better about yourself.