Five Things Men Can do Right Now

Men’s health in Australia is teetering on the edge of a crisis. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 75% of those who take their own life are men. Males are also 20% more likely to be overweight or obese compared to females and mortality rates from coronary heart disease and lung cancer are twice as high compared to females. Stress, poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and societal expectations have placed a heavy toll on the wellbeing of men. So, what can we do? Here are five tips men can implement now.  

Silent Battles: Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing 

Men in Australia face unique challenges when it comes to their mental health. Societal norms often discourage men from expressing their emotions, perpetuating a culture of silence around mental health issues. According to Beyond Blue, approximately 1 in 8 men experience depression in their lifetime. However, men are less likely than women to seek help, and are also more likely to die by suicide, with rates that are three times higher than women in Australia.  

What men can do to support their mental health:  

  • Get socially connected – join a sports team or a hobby group and organise regular catch up with friends or colleagues. We know that ‘shoulder to shoulder’ conversations are more effective versus face to face.  
  • Prioritise your health – engage in regular exercise, sleep 7-9 hours each night and eat well (more on this below).  
  • It’s not weak to speak – many men experience the same feelings you may be having, seek professional help. Download our online men’s health resources here.  

Sedentary Lifestyles and Poor Diets 

Our modern lifestyle, dominated by technology and convenience, has become increasingly sedentary, and men are not exempt from its detrimental effects. Desk jobs, long commutes, and a lack of physical activity have contributed to rising rates of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and other chronic conditions. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2017-18, around 74% of Australian men were classified as overweight or obese, increasing their risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Furthermore, 96.5% of men aged over 19 don’t eat enough vegetables. 

Make physical activity a daily habit:  

Dedicate at least 30 minutes every day to moving your body. Regular physical activity enhances cardiovascular health, helps manage weight, and promotes overall wellbeing. 

Follow our Movement Pyramid below to find out how much exercise you should do in a week: 

A triangle diagram divided into three sections that read 'Play (1-2 week)', 'Activate (2-3 Week)', 'Regenerate (everyday)'.

Eat more fruits and vegetables:  

Focus on consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables, and minimise processed foods, sugary snacks, and excessive salt intake to support optimal health. Improving your vegetable intake alone is estimated to reduce the risk of CVD by 16%. Aim for 5 serves of vegetables a day.  

What does one serve look like?  

  • ½ a sweet potato 
  • 1 medium tomato 
  • 1 cup leafy greens 
  • ½ can cooked beans 

Work-Life Balance and Stress Management 

The pursuit of a healthy work-life balance is a challenge faced by both men and women in Australia. However, men often find it harder to achieve this balance due to societal expectations. The pressure to succeed in a competitive work environment can lead to chronic stress and burnout. According to Safe Work Australia, work-related stress costs the Australian economy approximately $14.81 billion per year in lost productivity and compensation claims. Workplaces can support men’s health by fostering a culture that values work-life balance, provides flexible working arrangements, and promotes stress-management techniques. On an individual level, practicing mindfulness and gratitude is a simple way to find a moment of balance in your day and to reduce feelings of stress. 

The power of gratitude: 

The act of simply writing down why you are grateful for someone or something has the power to improve our mental health and overall wellbeing. It’s easy to get started and takes as little as 5 minutes. 

Download our Gratitude Journal here.  

Prevention and Regular Health Screenings 

One of the key aspects to improving men’s health is emphasising the importance of regular health screenings. Men often neglect routine check-ups, leading to undiagnosed conditions that could have been treated or managed more effectively. Based on 2021 ABS data, women were more inclined than men to engage in various healthcare activities within a year. Specifically, a higher percentage of women visited general practitioners (87.2% vs. 77.4%), underwent pathology tests (64.7% vs. 51.9%), received imaging tests (43.5% vs. 31.5%), and consulted medical specialists (41% vs. 33.8%). Routine check-ups can detect underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and prostate cancer, which are more manageable when identified in the early stages.  

Know when to get your checks! 

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer amongst men, if detected early, the rate of recovery beyond 5 years in 95%, however, late detection drops this to 26%.  

  • When you’re 50, have a conversation with your doctor about a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. 
  • If you’re of African or Caribbean descent, do it at 45. 
  • If you have a family history, do it at 45. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for males aged 45-60. 

  • Anyone 45 years and over or 30 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, should have a regular Heart Health Check with their doctor, it takes as little as 20 minutes. 

Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in younger men, yet 62% of those who are at risk, don’t know how to check themselves. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to check yourself. Once a month, have a feel downstairs, look for: 

  • Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum  
  • Change in the size or shape of the testicle  
  • Feeling of unevenness  
  • Pain in the lower abdomen, the testicle itself or the scrotum 

If you notice any changes or pain, consult your doctor as soon as possible. 

Remember, you don’t need to make big changes to make a difference. Build healthy habits by starting small and starting today.  

Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?