Get physical – helping men exercise to better health

We’re focusing on men’s health this Movember. And with 41% of men in high-income countries not exercising enough, we want to share how men can get moving more – a subject that is particularly close to our hearts at VavistaLife.

So whether you are a man looking to improve your own health and fitness, or a woman looking to encourage the men in your life, take the first steps, Vavista-style, towards a healthier, more active life.

1. Sit less, move more

movemberIf you’re tired of being told you should take more exercise – here’s something that might get you sitting up in your chair. Studies show that compared to active people, the risk of early death is 15% greater for people who sit over 8 hours per day, and 40% greater for people who sit over 11 hours per day. Yet another reason why our modern lifestyles can be bad news!

Scientists believe humans are programmed to be active. Which could explain why sitting hunched over a desk all day, and slumping on the sofa or in a restaurant or bar by night, increases our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal problems, some cancers and more. What’s more, our slothful habits can worsen sleep and mood problems, increasing our chances of depression and other health issues.

But the good news is that even if you spend a large proportion of your day desk-bound, there are simple ways you can help combat this. Even before you start thinking about serious exercise, there are windows of opportunity that can allow you to up your activity in small ways throughout the day.

2. Make exercise a priority

Busy lives are one of the most common excuses for not exercising. How many times have you put exercise last! One of the simplest tricks to boost your fitness and wellbeing – and help avoid serious health problems down the line – is to make exercise a priority even when you’ve got a dozen other things to do.

So find yourself an exercise routine – the one you’ve got the best chance of sticking with – and start by putting it in your diary. That way you’re less likely to find an excuse for not doing it. Find out more with our five simple stay fit tips for busy people.

3. Ensure your workout works for you

gym resistance trainingOK, so maybe we’ve convinced you to start taking exercise seriously. The next question is how to plan your workout. Many people think that cardiovascular training (getting your heart rate up) is the be-all and end-all. But this is ignoring the positive benefits associated with resistance training and stretching – particularly if you are over 40, when you stand to lose 8% of muscle a decade!

There’s also the question of which is better for health, fitness and weight loss – slow, steady, long-distance training, or harder, more intense activity? Or to put it another way: does the hare or the tortoise win the race when it comes to our health? Find out what you need to do to get the best out of your workout – and boost your chances of sticking with it!

Plus more about why you should start resistance training today.

4. Don’t let cold weather put you off

As the nights draw in, it’s easy for our good intentions to collapse by the fireside. But if you’re tempted to go into winter hibernation mode, remind yourself that exercise is more – not less – important for our health than in the summer as it helps wake up sluggish systems. True most exercise events are in the summer, but to help motivate yourself why not set yourself some summer goals you can start training towards this winter (see below).
Don’t forget, exercising in more challenging weather conditions can give you that extra sense of achievement and reward – especially when you’re sipping a hot drink in the warm afterwards! Read here for tips about keeping yourself motivated in cold weather.

5. Finally…make the benefits last

Here at Vavista we believe in making activity a way of life. By joining one of our Vavista Life health, wellbeing or weightloss programmes, you can learn how to turn small changes into long-term habits so you can keep up this healthy living for good (check out our programmes for more help if you haven’t already).

And for extra motivation there’s our 10kAnyWay Challenge. Sometimes we all need something that will push us slightly out of our comfort zone, make us put the extra effort and give us a big sense of achievement. What’s more you don’t have to be super fit to join – from couch potato or honed athlete, we have levels to suit anyone.

So whether you are a “Mo bro” or a “Mo sister” – don’t let inactivity drag you down. Help us to help you, or those you care for, exercise your way to better health and fitness today.

Wilmot EG et al Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia. August 14, 2012