Exercise & Men's Health

As we celebrate ESSA’s 30 year anniversary, we will be looking at the different health areas of the exercise and sports science industry that have significantly grown over the last decade or two. This includes our ESSA accredited professionals who have been supporting the health of Australian men.

Exercise plays a vital role in keeping Australian blokes healthier, happier and alive for longer. Unfortunately, only 17% of men are both sufficiently active and meeting the muscle strengthening guidelines. We know that men experience a range of health conditions and symptoms differently to women, whether it be severe depression and anxiety, prostate and testicular cancer, or increased risk of a heart attack or diabetes. The other side of the coin is that we know that men can struggle to ask for help, especially when it comes to their health.

ESSA is proud of our accredited exercise professionals who are driven by passion and dedication in creating happier, healthier Aussie men.

Exercise makes a real difference to men’s mental health
The Australian culture of toughness and stoicism surrounding men speaking up about their feelings needs to change. Boys and men of all ages need to feel comfortable about speaking to someone when they are not feeling 100% so that the issues can be unpacked before it becomes a greater issue.

Exercise has been shown to be another helpful tool in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and depression, in addition to other mental health conditions.

Exercise interventions also have lasting effects on those living with these conditions with research demonstrating that patients with symptoms of depression, on follow-up after an exercise intervention, showed long-term improvements in their mental health.

Exercise can also be used as a great tool to start those tough but important conversations with your mates about their mental health and how they’re doing. Whether it’s a kick of the football, a game of cricket in the park, a hike or an afternoon run, exercise and sport can give you a chance to have a chat in a relaxed environment.

Launch of a dedicated Men’s Health resource
In June 2021, ESSA released its first eBook dedicated to men’s health and dispelling the myth that you need to be a “gym junkie” in order to gain access to the benefits of exercise and physical activity. While working out in a gym environment might suit some people, it’s not necessarily for everyone and there are a variety of ways to meet the physical activity guidelines.

The Exercise & Men’s Health eBook covers conditions such as mental health, heart disease, diabetes, substance use disorders, and sexual dysfunction, as well as other important topics for men such as exercising right as a new dad, for work, while playing sports, as you age, and checking in with your GP. You can access the free-to-download eBook here.  

Hear from the men using exercise as medicine
Brett is a 42-year-old, above-knee amputee who started his exercise journey to improve his golf strength and abilities, as well as to look after his mental health due to struggling to cope after his amputation.

When I had my first amputation, I really struggled with coping and turned to a lot of drinking… Exercise has definitely changed my life for the better.” Watch the full video here.

David is 39-years-old and turned to Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP), Alex Jeon, to support him in his rehab for a total knee replacement. David also lived with the effects of hypertension and PTSD.

I was at the point where I had to sit down after 15 minutes on my feet, I couldn’t even help my wife with the kids or even push a shopping trolley… it can turn you into a very angry person. Alex has helped me in regards to being my own worst enemy,” says David.

As men, we’re supposed to show a lot of masculinity, stubbornness and ego get in the way all the time… men won’t focus on being the best versions of themselves, they would rather bench press 150kgs. For me, success is seeing how much of a better husband and father he now is,” explains Alex. Watch the full video here.

Want to watch more inspirational videos? Click here.
Accredited exercise professionals can help
Whether you are ageing gracefully, have not played weekend footy since becoming a new dad, or struggling with poor mental health – exercise is for you. While it can be confusing to know how to start, what exercises are best, or whether it’s safe, chatting to your local accredited exercise professional is a great place to start.

If I had one message for men, it would be to just take that first step,” says Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Dean Todd.

We know it’s the biggest step you will take, but it’s probably one of the best steps you will take in your whole life."

The Exercise Right website has also a range of other men's health-related blogs available here.

If you would like to find an accredited exercise professional to support you or a man in your life, click here to find one close to you.

Click here

Supporting health through exercise for 30 years 

To celebrate 30 years of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), we are reflecting on 30 stories which commemorate the profound impact the exercise and sports science industry and its professionals have had on our communities, and how they have benefited the health landscape in Australia.

Click here to read more like this one