6 reasons men should get active

Chris Foster Chris Foster Nuffield Health Professional Head of Fitness
Need motivation to get off the couch? Nuffield Health’s Head of Fitness, Chris Foster, gives six no nonsense reasons why you should get active, now.

There are a number of health problems a man can face throughout his life. But the risk of suffering from many of them is significantly reduced by leading an active lifestyle. As well as regularly visiting your GP, physical activity is the best thing you can do for your own health. And here’s why:

Being active reduces cardiovascular risk and helps your heart

Many risk factors contribute to cardiovascular disease, but high blood pressure (hypertension) and cholesterol are common culprits. Exercise has been proven to help lower both these factors simultaneously. The benefits of aerobic exercise to cardiovascular health are well documented. By not living a sedentary lifestyle and incorporating moderate physical activity into your life you’ll significantly decrease the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Being active lowers cholesterol

As most men get older, cholesterol numbers begin to move in the wrong direction. Levels of so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol gradually increase whereas levels of ‘good’ cholesterol tend to fall. Unfortunately, this combination is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. Excess cholesterol accumulates on the inner lining of blood vessels, leading to heart attacks. The best way to keep bad cholesterol levels down is to eat a diet low in trans-fat and exercise regularly.

Being active lowers the risk of high blood pressure

As blood pressure climbs, the risk of heart disease and stroke accelerates. Unfortunately, blood pressure levels typically climb as men get older due to a natural stiffening of the arteries. But they don’t have to - studies have shown that being more physically active can lower the risk of developing hypertension. Exercise can be used in prevention, treatment and control of hypertension.

Being active lowers the risk of diabetes

Adult onset, or type 2, diabetes is one major health issue among men. A common factor in the development of type 2 is attributed to having too much body fat. Staying active can help you keep the weight off. Even for people who are overweight or obese, research shows exercise can still reduce the risk of diabetes. It is best to use a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise.

Being active reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a disorder that afflicts many men. Though its immediate effects are obvious, the long-reaching effects it has on a man’s wellbeing (including stress, anxiety and depression) are not. Exercise has been found to improve wellbeing and is regularly recommended to help deal with erectile dysfunction.

Being active increases self-esteem

When you exercise, you feel good. Not only does exercise help you to look good, thereby increasing your self-esteem, but it can directly fight depression. Depression is related to low levels of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Exercise, however, tends to increase the concentration of these neurotransmitters and also stimulates the release of endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitter.

Last updated Friday 28 April 2023

First published on Monday 7 September 2015