Month: June 2021

Life Is like a Painting


Whenever I start a painting, I have no idea where it will take me. Often it’s just a sense of something…An impulse that wants to be expressed. A sensation or feeling that longs to be acknowledged or felt.

I don’t even know what it is, just this itch in my fingertips that wants to be scratched.

And it’s at this moment that there is an opportunity to either say Yes or No.

We can be willing to explore, to follow its coaxing us out of our mind into our adventurous self, or we can stay in our status quo and make up stories whether this is the ‘right thing to do’, the ‘good enough thing to do’, and fixate on the result. In short: we can stay in the known, in our comfort zone.

But if we are willing to tolerate a little bit of discomfort and willing to not know where things will take us, we actually make space for magic.

Something that most of us are deeply longing for, oftentimes unaware that that’s actually what it is that we feel is missing.

Taking it one step at the time

I want to illustrate the process of trust through the journey of the making of this painting.

Because, when I’m looking at it, I’m in awe at the workings of life!

How did I get here? I had no idea what was coming and yet it happened. Miraculously and beautifully so. That’s why I love it because the creative process itself keeps surprising me.

Taking it one step at a time is the essential practice of trust.

How do you do that?

First, you have to become really present with what is in front of you and your natural response to it. What do you feel? And based on your feeling what do you long for?

A bit of contrast? Ok, no problem let’s just add that.

A bit of structure? Yes, sure, why not.

Trust is really this deep insight that there is no wrong in life.

(Or like my partner recently said: there is no right or wrong, there is only a ride!)

It’s a continuous movement and nothing ever is set in stone. In painting terms, it means: you can always paint over it, add to it, change it, and play with it!

Just like painting, life is very forgiving, it will always keep giving us opportunities to right our ‘wrongs’, which means to come back to balance, come back to harmony with life.

What a sense of freedom it opens up when you know that you can explore and play and just keep adding, layer upon layer upon layer…and that each layer will contribute to your perspective, your experience. Each layer will enrich and deepen your ‘(he)art’.

Accepting frustration as part of the process

And then maybe there comes a moment where frustration kicks in because in spite of all the accepting, trusting you have been doing, it still doesn’t feel satisfying and good.

It still doesn’t feel like you are connected to something bigger. What’s the point of this whole art thing, or ‘life’ thing for that matter, if there is no beauty in it? If there is no love in it?

Wonderful questions, but don’t get stuck in them.

I have come to embrace my frustration. It’s medicine and it takes me in a moment of ‘exasperation’ to the places where I usually wouldn’t go. It makes me take risks. Lean out a little bit more. Do unusual, unexpected things. It’s the energy that catapults me out of my stagnation and into the fresh and the new.

It’s what keeps refining my ideas of love and surrender.

Trusting dissatisfaction

And then…comes a moment when you look at your painting, or life, and you can say, yeah, it’s good enough.

When I got to the point of the painting above, I asked myself: Is it finished? I didn’t know what else wanted to happen, nothing was really moving and most people I checked in with said, that they liked it and yes, indeed, they felt it was probably finished.

Ok, I thought, maybe it is.

But then for two months I kept looking at it and even though I wasn’t inspired to take it further, I also kept feeling that it didn’t touch me. It was nice, ok, but it didn’t have that special ‘something’ that sometimes a piece of art has and that can take you into another dimension.

This is a tricky moment, because, what’s there is already good enough, so anything you add from here might fuck it all up.

If you want it all you have to be willing to lose it all.

And yet, in your heart, you know that you will never be able to look at your creation and be fully satisfied. You will always feel the twinge of not having gone full in. Not having given it your best.

Where in your life do you feel like that?

Trust that little voice of dissatisfaction. Make sure it doesn’t come from a false sense of not good enough, which is a wound of the ego (and in it, nothing will ever be good enough), but from a real feeling in your body, a tug on your heartstrings that there is more for you, and then go for it. Risk it all.

Because even if you ‘fuck’ up, even if you fail and lose, at least you know that you gave your best.

It’s your inner guidance beckoning you towards more of your soul expression.

That moment in the painting process I find the most exhilarating. That’s when I really feel I’m dancing on the razor’s edge, I’m stretching my comfort zone and in the process, I am surrendering my small self to something bigger.

I become a channel. And it’s a feeling of ecstasy. Finally, there is no me, there is only what wants to happen and the divine itself.

How do you know it’s finished?

People ask me this question all the time. If you are supposed to trust your dissatisfaction how do you know you are finished?

The answer is actually really simple: It’s done when you are done.

Because it’s actually not about the outcome on the outside, it’s about where you have been within yourself. The places you went and touched within yourself. There is only that much energy available for it.

I’m likening it to the process of giving birth. When is the baby born? The energy available for the process is gone once the baby is out. You don’t keep pushing after you finished. Simple.

When I look at this finished painting below, of course, my mind could go into the critical self and think: Oh, I should change this a little or that.

But regardless of it, there is nothing in me that wants to touch it again. I’m done, spent, finished. In fact, there is often the feeling of “I don’t even want to look at it for a while!” The umbilical cord is cut, now I want to simply rest from the process of creation.

Can we trust the process and cycles of life?

For me, painting is a spiritual practice. A process in which I become very intimate with myself. Very honest. No one can enter this realm with me. It’s just me and it.

A deeper reflection of my life.

I hope you can find that kind of love and trust for your own process and enjoy all the steps along the way!


Kasia Patzelt works as an Embodiment Coach and is passionate about integrating our spiritual experiences into the here and now of daily life aka how to be truly heart intelligent. She is a writer on Medium and works one-on-one with people online or on the magic island of Ibiza, where she lives. www.kasiapatzelt.com

Image courtesy of Jadson Thomas.

A Love Letter To The Ocean

Oceans cover nearly 75% of the Earth. While they seem vast and frightening, they’re also enchanting and whimsical. This hour, TED speakers dive into stories of connection — and even love — in the sea. Guests include adventurer Catherine Mohr, marine biologists Marah Hardt and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and venom scientist Mandë Holford.

How Exercise Impacts Sexual Health of Men

How Exercise Impacts Sexual Health of Men

Reproductive and sexual health plays a key role in the well-being of Australian men.

Knowing more about your body, how it works, and the conditions that can affect you is important – this helps you make decisions about how you can look after your health and where to seek help when you need it.

WHAT IMPACTS MALE SEXUAL HEALTH?

 
There are many things that can impact male sexual health and well-being. Sometimes men may be a bit reluctant to talk to a health care provider about reproductive and sexual health because it can be a bit sensitive. Rest assured, the difficulties you may be experiencing are more common than you think.

There are things you can do to look after yourself, but it is also important to seek help from your health and medical professionals early. Your health care team play an important role. The Spanner in the Works? resource gives you a guide of the different things to keep an eye on at different ages and stages in life and who’s out there to help.

COMMON CONDITIONS:

Male Infertility

Often, men can be shocked to be told that they are the reason why they and their partner are having problems conceiving. But, in fact, about one in 20 men in Australia are infertile. Male infertility can have many causes, but problems with the number or quality of sperm is the most common. Sometimes treatment can restore natural fertility, but often doctors cannot find a reason for sperm not being made properly. This can make coping with male infertility difficult. Fertility specialists can treat some male infertility problems using assisted reproductive treatment. For men without sperm, couples may consider donor sperm, adoption, or foster parenting.

Prostate Enlargement

Most common in older men, about one in seven Australian men over 40 years of age have problems with their prostate. The most common prostate disease is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). While not usually life-threatening, for some men BPH can have a major effect on quality of life because of problems with urination. However, not all urination problems are caused by the prostate, so it is important to see your doctor to find the cause. Medicines, and sometimes surgery, can help improve the symptoms of prostate disease.

Erectile Dysfunction

Sexual problems in men are more common than you might think. About one in five Australian men over the age of 40 have problems getting or keeping an erection (erectile dysfunction or impotence). In some cases, erectile dysfunction is a sign of a serious health problem such as diabetes or heart disease. There are many treatments for erectile dysfunction, including medicines, but talking to your partner and your doctor is the most important first step. Even if the cause of erectile dysfunction is a physical one, getting some counselling or emotional support is an important part of treatment.

Androgen (Testosterone) Deficiency

Lower energy levels, mood swings, bad temper (irritability), poor concentration, reduced muscle strength, or a lack of interest in sex can be signs of androgen deficiency (low testosterone levels). About one in 200 men in Australia have androgen deficiency, but not all are diagnosed. Androgen deficiency affects men of all ages and can be caused by a genetic or medical problem, or by damage to the testicles. In some men, testosterone levels fall with older age most often due to illness or weight gain. Androgen deficiency is diagnosed by a doctor such as your GP, or by another specialist (usually an endocrinologist).

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE:

 
Medical research shows links between chronic disease such as heart disease and diabetes and male reproductive and sexual health. In fact, erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign for future heart disease and/or type 2 diabetes.

If you have erectile dysfunction, you have a similar risk of having a heart attack to someone with a family history of heart disease or a cigarette smoker, especially if you are young.

Erectile dysfunction and heart disease have some of the same causes and risk factors, including being physically inactive.

It’s a good reason to focus on exercise for its many benefits.

Some studies have shown a link between increasing levels of physical activity and lower rates of benign prostate enlargement (BPH) or irritating and painful urinary symptoms (LUTS, or lower urinary tract symptoms). Physical activity may help prevent these prostate problems.

It can also be good to check in on the health of your pelvic floor muscles. The Continence Foundation of Australia have some great resources specifically for males to understand the importance of the pelvic floor and some tips on how to get started with pelvic floor exercise.

If you are planning for a family, it is important to remember that the health of sperm at conception is affected by the three months prior to conception. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to have low testosterone levels, experience erectile dysfunction, and are likely to be less fertile than someone within an average weight range.

Being overweight also increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, you are about twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction as someone without diabetes.

If you are overweight, with or without diabetes, losing weight could help your reproductive health. However, not putting on weight in the first place is the best way to lower your chance of reproductive health problems.

Along with changes to your diet, physical activity is very important in either keeping a healthy weight or losing weight and maintaining or regaining reproductive and sexual health.

CHECK OUT OUR MEN’S HEALTH EBOOK:

 
This latest eBook by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has been designed to encourage Australian men to become more active for their physical and mental health. It also covers the benefits of exercise for a wide range of common conditions adult men may encounter.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS:

 
It is important to find opportunities for physical activity every day in as many ways as you can. A variety of exercises including resistance/strength training and cardiovascular/aerobic activity is important. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can help you get started and support you to stay on track.

It is particularly important to seek support of an exercise professional if you have chronic conditions. Appropriate exercise will play a big part in positively managing your health and well-being. Well managed chronic conditions can lead to improved sexual function!

read more blogs

Written by Vanessa Jones, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Health Promotion Manager at Healthy Male (Andrology Australia)

Why Exercise is Important for Men

Why Exercise is Important for Men

There is a wide range of benefits for being active and including exercise or physical activity into daily routines. Exercise plays a vital role in keeping Australian blokes healthier, happier and alive for longer.

THE HEALTH OF AUSSIE MEN:

 
In 2018, there were 12.4 million men in Australia—making up 49% of the country’s population. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) offers a snapshot of their health from 2017–18:

      • 57% of Australian men rated their health as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’
      • Nearly 1 in 2 Australian men have experienced a mental health problem in their life
      • It is estimated that men account for 54% of all new cancer cases
      • 7 in 10 Australian men are overweight or obese

THEIR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LEVELS:

 
It was reported that in men aged 18 and over:

      • 1 in 2 (50%) were sufficiently physically active (includes workplace activity).
      • 1 in 4 (25%) did strength or toning activities on two or more days.

Overall, under 1 in 5 (17%) were sufficiently physically active and met the muscle strengthening guidelines.

While the most common reasons given by men for not being physically active are insufficient time because of work or family commitments, lack of interest, age, or ongoing injuries or illness, it’s important to remember that any physical activity is better than no physical activity!

HOW MUCH EXERCISE SHOULD MEN BE DOING?

 
Adult men (aged 18–64) should be active most days, preferably every day. Each week, adults should do either:

      • 5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity (such as a brisk walk, golf, mowing the lawn, or swimming)
      • 25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity (such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, or playing soccer or football)

Or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities

It’s important to also include muscle-strengthening activities as part of your daily physical activity on at least two days each week.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE:

 
Some of the health benefits for men who exercise include:

      • Lower risk of diabetes
      • Lower cholesterol
      • Reduced depression and anxiety
      • Lower risk of high blood pressure
      • Healthier blood vessels
      • Weight loss
      • Improved testosterone levels as you age
      • Lower risk of cancers such as colon or prostate cancer

A MESSAGE FOR MEN:

 
Watch this video to hear from a range of everyday Australian men and their thoughts on exercising.

FLEXIBILITY MATTERS TOO!

 
Flexibility is also an important benefit for keeping active. To improve their range of motion and be able to extend further than what they can do now, it’s important that men don’t ignore flexibility work.

Flexibility can give men the ability to use the full potential of their muscles which will then help with muscle growth.

IT’S ABOUT WHAT BEST SUITS YOU:

 
The great news is that men don’t need to be “gym junkies” in order to gain access to these benefits. While working out in a gym environment might suit some people, it’s not necessarily for everyone. There are a variety of ways to meet the physical activity guidelines and still gain the above benefits.

Plus, the most effective way to stick to an exercise routine is by choosing movement that you enjoy and works the major muscle groups – whether it be playing cricket, going surfing, heading to the gym, running with music, or going on a long hike.

CHECK OUT OUR MEN’S HEALTH EBOOK:

 
This latest eBook by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has been designed to encourage Australian men to become more active for their physical and mental health. It also covers the benefits of exercise for a wide range of common conditions adult men may encounter.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS:

 
It is important to find opportunities for physical activity every day in as many ways as you can. A variety of exercises including resistance/strength training and cardiovascular/aerobic activity is important. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can help you get started and support you to stay on track.

It is particularly important to seek support of an exercise professional if you have chronic conditions. Appropriate exercise will play a big part in positively managing your health and well-being. Well managed chronic conditions can lead to improved sexual function!

read more blogs

Written by Exercise & Sports Science Australia. Peer reviewed by Exercise and Sports Science Professionals. 

The Benefits of Exercise for Prostate Cancer Patients

The Benefits of Exercise for Prostate Cancer Patients

Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 Aussie men, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. It’s characterised by uncontrolled rate of cell growth within the prostate that has the potential to metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.

The prostate is gland is situated within the pelvis and underneath the bladder. It’s responsible for producing the fluid needed for ejaculation. Other conditions that involve the prostate include prostatis (inflammation of the prostate) and benign prostate hypertrophy (non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate).

Exercise helps treatment

 
Exercise is safe and effective in assisting in the treatment of prostate cancer. Evidence shows that prostate cancer patients with higher energy expenditure experience a lower rate of death from both prostate cancer and overall.

PSA doubling time (which is a favourable prognosis) also significantly improves with increased fitness levels. In addition, being physically active can help to manage the symptoms of ADT (which is a common treatment method for prostate cancer).

Exercise can also help you to better tolerate cancer treatment. Relative dose intensity of treatment and ability to tolerate these treatments is higher in groups that have performed exercise during treatment cycles. This means that exercise may allow patients to receive and tolerate a greater percentage of their outlined treatment plan.

Outside of these specific benefits, strength & aerobic exercises have been found to:

• Increase blood flow – An increase in blood flow allows more oxygen to diffuse into the site of the tumour, which can offset the current hypoxic environment
• Improve immune function – Physiological processes, in combination with increased blood flow, allow more of the body’s immune system to flood the infected area
• Help offset the effects of fatigue, sarcopenia (muscle loss), osteoporosis and cardiovascular fitness parameters.
• Reduce fat mass and body weight, while increasing lean body mass.

Why see an Accredited Exercise Physiologist?

 
There is no “one best program” for prostate cancer patients. An individualised approach needs to be taken to meet your specific needs. This is why seeing an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is the first and most important step in kick-starting your exercise program.

What to expect when you see an Exercise Physiologist…

 
It all starts with initial consultation. Your Exercise Physiologist will often ask about:
 
• Your experience with prostate cancer
• Absolute and relative risks for you about to undertake an exercise program
• Side effects of the respective treatment you have undertaken
• Current movement and overall fitness capacity
• Previous injury history
• Your exercise goals

Your AEP uses this information to build a program that is safe, effective and individualised to you.

Exercise therapy is be adapted based on many factors, including:

• Your response to exercise – your exercise physiologist will track things like heart rate, blood pressure and rating of perceived exhaustion (RPE) to understand your body’s response to exercise.
• Treatment cycles – they will know when reduce load or use progressive overload principles to modify your program.
• Symptoms – they will consider treatment associated symptoms such as urinary incontinence, cancer related fatigue and bone pain

CHECK OUT OUR MEN’S HEALTH EBOOK:

 
This latest eBook by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has been designed to encourage Australian men to become more active for their physical and mental health. It also covers the benefits of exercise for a wide range of common conditions adult men may encounter.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS:

 
ESSA has an online directory of more than 6,500 Accredited Exercise Physiologists around Australia who are highly trained to support you to develop and implement a safe, effective and personalised exercise plan.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists will understand the nature of whatever condition you may have, and be able to properly assess you, design a plan suited to your needs, and then support you through not only the good times, but other times that can be challenging.

It is important that you monitor any symptoms that you may experience during or immediately after exercise and convey these to your exercise professional as soon as possible. In that way, any new or worsening of your condition can be dealt with appropriately so that you can quickly get back to exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Click here to find an Accredited Exercise Physiologist near you.

read more blogs

Adam Luther is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist & Performance Coach at Absolute Health Performance.

Reference List
1. Australian Cancer & Incidence Mortality (2016) – Australian Institute of Health & Welfare
2. Friedenreich, C., Qinggang, W., Neilson, H., Kopcuik, K., McGregor, S., & Courneya, K. (2016). Physical activity & survival after prostate cancer. Journal of European Urology. 70(4): 576-585
3. Hvid, T., Lindegaard, B., Winding, K., Iversen, P., Brasso, K., Solomon, T., Pedersen, B., & Hojman, P. (2016). Effect of a 2-year home-based endurance training intervention on physiological function and PSA doubling time in prostate cancer patients. 27(2): 165-174.
4. Courneya, K., Segal, R., Mackey, J., Gelmon, K., Reid, R., Friedenreich, C., Ladha, A., Proulx, C., Vallance, J., Yasui, Y., & McKenzie, D. (2007). Effects of aerobic and resistance exercise in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 25(28): 4396-4404.

The Benefits of Exercise to Prevent Heart Disease in Aussie Men

The Benefits of Exercise to Prevent Heart Disease in Aussie Men

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) – often called ‘heart disease’ – is an umbrella term that includes diseases and conditions which affect the heart and blood vessels: coronary heart disease (the common cause of a heart attack), heart failure, arrhythmias, angina, and others.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide and in Australia. Approximately 26% of all deaths and 11% of all hospitalisations are attributed to CVD in Australia, with more than 80% of hospitalisations being for people aged over 55 years.

Very high rates of CVD exist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those living in remote areas (including farming communities).

HEART DISEASE IN MEN:

Heart disease kills around 40% more men than women and more men are admitted to hospital for CVD each year. Men are also about twice as likely as women to have a heart attack.

Please call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance if you suspect that you or someone else is having a heart attack.

Heart disease is strongly linked to risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, physical inactivity, overweight/obesity, and depression.

Unfortunately, men can sometimes neglect their health (“it can’t happen to me”) or they may ignore the symptoms of CVD which includes:

  • difficulty catching your breath after moderate physical exertion, like walking up a flight of stairs, or shortness of breath
  • a sense of discomfort or squeezing in your chest that lasts for 30 minutes to a few hours
  • unexplained pain in your upper torso, neck, and jaw
  • a heartbeat that is faster, slower, or more irregular than usual
  • dizziness or fainting
  •  

Men often put off going to their doctor or other health professional, however, a simple visit to a doctor or health professional can set a man on the road to better health and the avoidance of a heart attack.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE:

Exercise is wonderful for the heart, both to prevent CVD in the first place, and to ‘rehabilitate’ the heart after a big event such as a heart attack. The National Heart Foundation of Australia has a range of information on exercise for people with CVD.

Increasingly, exercise has been shown to be beneficial for the heart for men experiencing cancer or mental health issues. The heart is a muscle and like any other muscle, it benefits from exercise. With exercise, it will become slower but stronger, and often reduce blood pressure. Exercise can also help the body to process cholesterol, sugars, and fats which improves overall physiological health.

It’s important to remember that there are many smart fitness devices on the market now (watches, smartphone apps) that can be very helpful to monitor your heart rate, but these often need to be adjusted for people with CVD. For example, it is often inappropriate or even unsafe to use the heart rate guides on these smart devices if you have CVD. If you need assistance monitoring your cardiovascular health, an accredited exercise professional is optimally placed to provide you individualised advice.

mental health

TYPES OF EXERCISE RECOMMENDED:

The main forms of exercise that are known to improve heart health in men are aerobic exercise and strength exercise. Aerobic exercise includes walking, jogging (if you are able), cycling and swimming, and any variations of these such as golf or tennis. These modes of exercise can also be done in a gym using a treadmill or gym bike, aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

Strength exercises include lifting weights, using machines, rubber bands, balls, or simple equipment such as a park bench or a wall, or even using your body-weight as the ‘resistance’. It is important for people with CVD that your exercise program is designed based on an appropriate assessment prior to commencement.

CHECK OUT OUR MEN’S HEALTH EBOOK:

This latest eBook by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has been designed to encourage Australian men to become more active for their physical and mental health. It also covers the benefits of exercise for a wide range of common conditions adult men may encounter.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS:

If you are someone who already has cardiovascular disease, then your doctor or other health professional should have recommended some form of exercise to you. The first thing to do is to get proper advice and a personalised exercise plan by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

ESSA has an online directory of more than 6,500 Accredited Exercise Physiologists around Australia who are highly trained to support you to develop and implement a safe, effective and personalised exercise plan.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists will understand the nature of whatever CVD you may have, and be able to properly assess you, design a plan suited to your needs, and then support you through not only the good times, but other times that can be challenging.

It is important that you monitor any symptoms that you may experience during or immediately after exercise and convey these to your exercise professional as soon as possible. In that way, any new or worsening of your condition can be dealt with appropriately so that you can quickly get back to exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Click here to find an Accredited Exercise Physiologist near you.

read more blogs

Written by Professor Steve Selig, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and ESSA Fellow.

Exercise for New Dads

Exercise for New Dads

The decision to start a family is life-changing and should focus families’ attention on health. The health system justifiably focuses on the needs of mothers and babies, but the needs of fathers, as equal parenting partners, can often be overlooked.

Engaging dads and prospective dads to be involved and proactive parents as early as possible is important and will positively impact growth and development of their children.

AUSTRALIAN FATHERS AT A GLANCE:

    • 1 in 5 Australians are fathers – that’s 5 million fathers
    • 1 in 20 fathers experience depression while their partner is pregnant
    • Men’s preconception health affects fertility and the health of their children
    • For infertile couples, the male contributes to infertility in around half of all cases
    • After a miscarriage or stillbirth, men often hide their grief to support their partners
    • Father-child bonding contributes to healthy child development
    • Up to 1 in 10 fathers experience post-natal depression
    • The risk of suicide is higher for men during pregnancy or the first year or their child’s life than at any other time in their lives
    • 38% of new fathers worry about their mental health
    • 1 in 5 fathers report feeling totally isolated in the first year of fatherhood
    • 45% of fathers are not aware that men can experience postnatal depression
    • Most men report finding real joy in being a father

PREPARATION IS THE KEY:

 
When preparing to become a dad there are lots of things to think about and do – attending formal prenatal and parenting programs and classes can be a great way to learn some things. There are some great resources online and in the community, to assist dads in many different situations including:

MENTAL HEALTH:

 
Mental health can be impacted as you navigate parenthood. Up to one in 10 new dads struggle with post-natal depression. If you find you are feeling down and struggling with difficult emotions, there are specific services to support fathers. PANDA offers support and services specifically for dads that complement healthy exercise habits.

HEALTHY DADS ENCOURAGE HEALTHY CHILDREN:

 
Dads are important role models and facilitators for good eating habits and physical activity levels. Overweight fathers are more likely to have overweight children and yet, men are less likely to attempt weight loss than women. Taking a positive step early to maintain or regain a healthy weight through good exercise and nutrition habits is important. Fathers who are active and play in a physically active way are more likely to have children who are also physically active.

It’s not uncommon to find that focusing on your own health and fitness becomes a lower priority when you become a dad. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Finding a balance between self-care and role modelling the healthy behaviours you want to see in your children is important.

There are a number of ways that you can look after your own health and fitness and be a positive role model for your children. Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

    • Plan your time – make time for activity with your children AND on your own
    • Meet other dads locally and share the care with your partner, friends or family
    • Find a family activity – weekly events like parkrun are inclusive and welcoming places for families and individuals
    • Set up a home exercise space (safely) – check out the Exercise Right at Home workouts
    • Find out if there are parent-friendly exercise programs / facilities in your local community
    • Chat with your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Accredited Exercise Scientist to get additional support

CHECK OUT OUR MEN’S HEALTH EBOOK:

 
This latest eBook by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has been designed to encourage Australian men to become more active for their physical and mental health. It also covers the benefits of exercise for a wide range of common conditions adult men may encounter.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS:

 
ESSA has an online directory of more than 6,500 Accredited Exercise Physiologists around Australia who are highly trained to support you to develop and implement a safe, effective and personalised exercise plan.

Click here to find an Accredited Exercise Physiologist near you.

read more blogs

Written by Vanessa Jones, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Health Promotion Manager at Healthy Male (Andrology Australia)

Tips for Men on How to Start Exercising More

Tips for Men on How to Start Exercising More

In a recent Exercise Right survey, ‘motivation’ was the key excuse for why Australian men aren’t exercising. This was echoed in the 2020 AusPlay Survey that said the following were barriers for adults not engaging in physical activity or sport:

      1. Not enough time/too many other commitments
      2. Poor health or injury
      3. Increasing age/too old
      4. Don’t like sport or physical activity
      5. Too lazy

So, if you’re wanting to start exercising, or you’d like to increase your exercise levels, but you’re coming up against these common barriers, here’s some simple tips to help you combat them:

NOT ENOUGH TIME/TOO MANY OTHER COMMITMENTS?

 
When you want to be active but feel you don’t have time, setting small goals can sometimes be the best way to sneak some sort of exercise into your schedule: go for a run for just one song; stick to 10s – 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups every day; involve your kids with a walk in the park – then try to increase these goals each week.

POOR HEALTH OR INJURY?

 
It can sometimes be daunting to exercise while living with a health condition or injury, but a way to overcome that fear is reminding your that physical activity may help to improve or manage it. However, it’s recommended you speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist before undertaking any exercise to ensure your safety.

INCREASING AGE/TOO OLD?

 
Exercise is for everyone of all ages, and there’s a wide range of benefits specifically for older adults who incorporate movement into their lives. You don’t need to be able to run a marathon but keeping active is still important. Check out our Exercise Right for Older Adults eBook for more details.

DON’T LIKE SPORT OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?

 
Sometimes it can be hard to find a type of exercise that you enjoy but there are online resources that can show you what’s available in your area! PlaySport is a handy, online directory that allows you to search for sporting experiences near you. It’s inclusive of all abilities and ages with 300+ sport and activity types from Abseiling to Zumba.

Click on the Men’s Health Week Playlist to find local events and sports associated with Men’s Health Week!

TOO LAZY?

Getting your mates involved in a weekend game of footy or cricket can be an easy way to not only keep active without it feeling like a chore, but connecting with friends too – two birds, one stone!

DON’T FORGET TO START SMALL:

 
The number one motivator for men to participate in physical activity or sport was for their health and fitness. By overcoming these barriers and increasing your exercise levels, even if you start small and work your way up, you’re going to be improving your health and fitness in a large variety of ways.

It’s important to remember that any information you find online in videos, factsheets and other resources should be viewed as just a guide. If you need extra support or have any concerns, talk to your local GP or accredited exercise professional where possible.

CHECK OUT OUR MEN’S HEALTH EBOOK:

 
This latest eBook by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has been designed to encourage Australian men to become more active for their physical and mental health. It also covers the benefits of exercise for a wide range of common conditions adult men may encounter.

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS:

 
This is all easier said than done when you’re experiencing poor mental health which can lead to a lack of motivation, reduced interest in activities, and trouble concentrating. So, once you have started, how do you stay on board? How do you continue to improve? How do you know what to do?

This is where an accredited exercise professional, such as an Accredited Exercise Scientist or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, can help. An accredited exercise professional is qualified to prescribe you a tailored exercise program that considers your current mental health state and existing medical history (this may include old or current injuries, any medication you take as well as your exercise likes and dislikes).

If you haven’t started undertaking some physical activity or completing an exercise program, now is a great time to start! Reach out to an accredited exercise professional for some extra support to help you get the best possible results, long term!

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Written by Exercise & Sports Science Australia. Peer reviewed by Exercise and Sports Science Professionals.