In the United States, women outlive men by nearly 5 years.
That’s roughly 1,800 fewer days a man can enjoy his family, his friends and explore life, compared to a female.
June 14 kicks off International Men’s Health Week with a global goal of increasing awareness of the health issues affecting men around the world.
Some of the most common health issues for men, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity, are caused by a lack of physical activity and poor nutrition.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 3 out of 4 men are considered to be overweight. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S. with 1 out of 4 of us dying from it.
Sounds grim, right?
The good news is that exercising can help prevent and improve a person’s cardiovascular health as well as help maintain and even decrease a person’s bodyweight.
Aerobic exercise, which means any physical activity that increases the heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen, is ideal for improving circulation, which in turn lowers blood pressure and the heart rate as the heart becomes stronger and more efficient.
Some aerobic activities most of us can already do include brisk walking, running and bike riding.
Tennis, swimming, dancing and surfing also are great activities and are popular in the area, but for most of us, these activities require learning new skill sets.
Look at it this way: the challenge of learning a new skill helps make the brain healthier too.
Experts suggest a minimal of five days of 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day, or 150 minutes per week for health benefits, but there are many benefits to gain by going over the 150-minute recommendation, too.
Strength training also can have some cardiovascular benefits, especially if you are doing a type of circuit-training routine with limited rest times between exercises.
The primary benefit from strength training though is the increase of muscle mass, which improves bone strength and improves joint flexibility.
Training with free weights, such as dumbbells and barbells, can provide the widest range of options for developing muscle, because the amount of exercises you can do with free weights is almost limitless.
However, it is important to learn proper technique when using free weights to prevent injuries.
A weight machine is another option to develop muscle mass and it does provide more guidance, which is perfect for a beginner.
All major muscle groups need to be trained at least two times a week and should not be done on consecutive days.
Keep in mind, the weekend-only routine is not ideal for body rest and recovery.
If your time is limited, remember your body is always with you and can participate in an anytime, anywhere workout.
Many muscle-building benefits are gained by using your own body weight, with such exercises as push-ups, pull-ups and squats.
You might consider going for a lunch-time walk or doing some push-ups or wall squats during your afternoon break.
Even five minutes of exercise randomly throughout the day is beneficial!
While exercise can help lengthen a man’s life, aliments like prostate cancer, alcohol abuse, smoking, mental health issues and stress can prevent men from living a longer and fuller life.
Seeking balance, finding ways to manage stress and conducting regular health check-ups should be part our life routines.
These are key to preventing and treating diseases, so I encourage you to establish a relationship with a health care provider that can guide you on your future health journey.
Lawn-mowing season is on the horizon and the walking, pushing and pulling as you cut the grass can count toward your cardiovascular and strength training goals, as long as you’re not sitting on a riding mower.
So put on your sunscreen, grab a bottle of water and get outside to keep your yard and yourself healthy.
Jim McCormick has been the owner of Cocoa Beach Health and Fitness since 2008 and has been a resident of Brevard County since 1970.