Posted Friday 18 June 2010
Men's Health Week urges men to get moving.
The World Cup has started and men around the country are gathering on sofas in living rooms and on chairs in pubs. I'm told that being a World Cup fan is a strenuous, full-time activity. Your heart rate increases every time the ball edges towards the goal, the throat gets a complete work out through constant yells and screams of jubilation or despair and there's always the frenzied scramble to grab a beer from the fridge without missing any of the action. As an England supporter myself, I understand the psychological and physical angst of cheering on our side but am also aware that there's a wide gap between watching a sport and getting involved yourself.
Although England is a nation of sport lovers, the majority of them male, we are not necessarily a nation of sport 'doers'. 13.5 million people attend Premier League games in each season, 1.5 million people attend Premier Rugby (union) and 1.5 million attend country cricket. Yet, not enough men are getting active themselves. In fact, 22% of men in England and Wales die before they reach 64 compared to 13% of women. Higher levels of physical activity could make a big impact since active men have a 20-30% reduced risk of premature death and up to 50% reduced risk of developing major chronic diseases.
That's why Men's Health Forum has chosen physical activity as the theme for Men's Health Week 2010. The week aims to encourage more men to become physically active, to improve male participation in sport and to develop the potential of sport settings for delivering health services to men. As part of this, the charity has set the Government, NHS and local authorities the One Million Man Challenge to get one million middle-aged men more active by the 2010 Olympics.
As part of our Men and Mental Health campaign, Mind fully supports Men's Health Week. Increased activity levels would not only benefit men physically, but it would also have a hugely positive impact on male mental health. As the Time to Get Moving project emphasises, exercise has been proven to increase your energy levels, boost your mood and reduce stress and feelings of depression and anxiety - and that can be after just one session!
With men accounting for 75 per cent of all suicides in England and Wales, one in seven men experiencing depression after six months of being unemployed and 95 per cent of the prison population being male, it's more important than ever that men are given the opportunities to access exercise and improve their mental wellbeing.
So, as you plan the ins and outs of exactly how you will watch the match tonight (COME ON ENGLAND!), make sure to also plan how you'll be getting active this weekend - it could just save your life.
Mariam Kemple, Policy and Campaigns Officer
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