Skip links and keyboard navigation

Reassessing health and fitness as men get older

Men shouldn't look to the current trend of the 'dad bod' as inspiration for their health and fitness.

The 'dad bod' defines a man who isn't overweight, but also doesn't have a six-pack. He might play indoor cricket once a week, but he also drinks alcohol heavily and eats fast food regularly.

Exercise scientist and physical activities officer with the Public Safety Business Agency, Rob Thiel-Paul said that while it is unreasonable to expect every man to be a chiselled

Adonis, promoting 'beer bellies' and fast food binges isn't the answer – nor is it attractive.

"The evidence is clear that men shouldn't let a healthy diet and exercise go by the wayside as they get older," Rob said.

"Men should instead take this time to sit and look at their overall health and how their lifestyle habits are impacting their health.

"Many men don't realise the things they do every day may be impacting their health and how they feel."

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said in 2014, over 60 percent of adult Queensland men are reported to be overweight and obese, nearly 80 percent of those aged between 45 to 54 years.

"This week, Men's Health Week is the perfect opportunity for the Queensland community to ask what factor's in men and boy's environments contribute to the overall status of men's health," Dr Young said.

"I would implore fathers, mothers and other carers of young boys to talk openly about health-related issues and encourage them to share their feelings and concerns.

"It is also important that they act as positive role models, particularly around things like smoking, healthy food choices, physical activity and alcohol consumption.

"The behaviours they learn in their early stages, set important behavioural patterns for later in life."

Mr Thiel-Paul went on to say said that getting healthy, being healthy and staying healthy comes from turning awareness into action.

"The keys to improving your overall health and fitness are small changes to ensure you move regularly and chose healthier food choices in smaller portions.

"Maintaining a healthy weight doesn't have to be an obsession.

"It doesn't take hours in the gym, living on water and vegetables. It takes self-awareness, some self-discipline and persistence.

"Maintaining your health, including weight and fitness, demonstrates respect for yourself and those that love and depend on you.

"Encouraging men, dads or not, to make positive changes toward their health, will ensure their futures are filled with energy and have less chance of chronic disease.

"What's more attractive than that?"

Rob's fitness tip - include some form of strength training into your weekly exercise. Strength is the foundation of ALL movement and can help you offset the aging process. As you get older:

  • You get weaker – strength training increases strength.
  • You lose muscle mass – strength training increases muscle mass.
  • Your neural drive decreases – strength training increase neural drive.
  • Your metabolism slows – strength training increases muscle mass which in turn increase your metabolism.
  • Your muscles and joints lose elasticity – strength training can increase joint and muscle elasticity.
  • You become more prone to falls – strength training improves mobility and proprioception which keeps you upright.
  • Strength training has been shown to increase cognitive functioning.
  • Strength training can improve resting and exercising blood pressure.
Last updated: 18 June 2015