Fuel for Fitness Day 4 – Exercise Is Key To Men’s Longevity

A dedication to all the men out there!

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE FOR OLDER MEN

It is important to place emphasis on exercise when we’re younger. Exercise areas are readily accessible. Be it going to a gym, playing a team sport, hiking or whatever your preferred physical activity is. As we age the public emphasis can diminish. But actually, it’s equally if not more important to practice regular physical activity as we age. Worldwide, physical inactivity accounts for about 3.2 million deaths per year. Remember, exercise is the key to men’s longevity.

Recent studies have shown that exercise is, in fact, the key to longevity for older men. However, it doesn’t have to be as strenuous as you may think to gain the benefits. Even a half hour of light physical activity can reduce mortality odds by 17%.

With so many exercise activities targeted at women, what type of exercise is important for older men? How can they access it?

Some of the guidelines for older adults can seem overcomplicated. We have simplified it into a few easy points of which exercise and why –

  1. Get Moving – Walk at least 30 minutes a day, try uphill if you can to improve endurance
  2. Use Those Muscles – Add in some strength based work including
  • Resistance exercises (use a resistance band or dumbbell) to fight muscle decline and strength loss associated with ageing
  • Balance and leg strengthening exercises are important to prevent falls
  • Flexibility exercises such as tai chi and yoga can help with daily activities such as bending

Why not try

  • Going for a walk with friends to increase accountability & make it a social occasion
  • An exercise class designed specifically for older adults
  • Swimming, it’s a great low impact exercise
  • A follow at home video on YouTube 
  • Attend classes organized by Siel Bleu Ireland

MEN’S DIET

Men typically view dieting and keeping control of a good diet as a female-centric activity. It is common for Irish men to eat caloric food. They tend to stick to high protein meals with low fibre carbohydrates such as white pasta, bread and potatoes. Irish men also typically have a high sodium diet due to a high intake of processed meats. On average Irish men consume 30.9g of processed meat a day. Irish men are also at risk of vitamin B6 & B12, vitamin D and calcium deficiency. Below are a few guidelines that might help men to fuel their fitness –

  • Although meat is an important source of protein, it is important to know which meat is high in protein. Opt for meat such as chicken breast and oily fish (salmon, cod, and tuna). Not only are they good sources of protein and healthy fats, they are also rich in vitamin A. Eggs, nuts and beans are also a good alternative source of protein to red meat. Nuts can be high in fats so take care to eat mindfully, for example, 12 almonds make a portion.
  • Calcium and vitamin D are vital as we get older. Together they keep the bones strong; Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of calcium. Since our source comes from the sun, it can be challenging to get the necessary levels in Ireland. Vitamin C is essential to promote healthy gums and helps to absorb iron and heal wounds rapidly. Not forgetting Vitamin B6 which is essential to form a red blood cell and B12 maintain healthy red blood cell.
  • Dieticians recommends consumption of carbohydrates that are high in fibre over the white bleached variety. For individuals who are only starting eating fibre dense food, they could try half-half. Pace your change instead of changing completely overnight.
  • As much as possible limit the number of saturated fats in your diet. Always eat in moderation even though the fats are healthy for the heart.
  • Limit salt and sugar intake
  • Remember to always stay hydrated

**Disclaimer: The advice given in this blog is meant as a suggestion only. It is important to ask your doctor/dietitian before making any changes to your lifestyle.