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Time to Get Moving this Movember

Every day, the men in our lives, our fathers, partners, brothers and friends, are being faced with a health crisis that isn’t being discussed: men are dying an average six years younger than women.

The Movember Foundation globally addresses some of the biggest health issues faced by men such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention. This year’s ‘Move for Movember’ campaign aims to raise funds for men’s health through the encouragement of physical activity.

“Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) supports the Movember Foundation’s key message that anyone, anywhere, can go the distance to support men’s health,” states Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

“Encouraging meaningful conversations about men’s health through physical activity not only helps to raise awareness and funds, but it also benefits everyone’s mental and physical health and well-being.”

The figures of men’s physical and mental health are staggering:

  • Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men, killing 45 men every hour, with testicular cancer the second most common cancer affecting men aged 18 to 39.
  • While on average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives. In fact, a man dies from suicide every minute.

We can’t afford to continue on in silence. We can all be the difference in a man’s life by taking action this Movember.

“With men tending to avoid visits to their local GP to talk about their health, it’s the responsibility of all Australians to encourage men to either go and have a check up or seek help for their health,” says Ms Hobson-Powell.

Move for Movember’ aims to raise funds and awareness through the fun and healthy benefits of physical activity. Whilst we know that physical activity can have a direct benefit on the treatment and manage of chronic conditions and illnesses such as cancer and poor mental health, exercise can play a key role as a non-confrontational motivator to discuss their health.

Hamish Fibbins, Accredited Exercise Physiologist working with the Keeping the Body in Mind (KBIM) mental health program and post-graduate researcher at UNSW Sydney, explains that making time for even small amounts of physical activity has positive impacts on the body, both physically and mentally.

“If we replace inactivity with just a few sessions of exercise a week, like jogging or swimming, our risk of depression decreases by about 20% over a five year period.”

“The other good news is that organisations like the Movember Foundation are bringing men’s health issues to the forefront of the Australian mentality. By reducing the societal stigma around mental health, men are more likely to seek help when it’s needed – rather than trying to stick it out alone,” adds Hamish.

Although creating an exercise habit can be difficult, finding one you enjoy and setting realistic goals can make it easier to come back to.

There is no perfect exercise, and moving and being active can be as simple as you want it to be. Even a 30 minute walk will directly benefit your physical and mental health – a little bit is better than nothing.

Before starting a new exercise plan, it’s recommended you consult an exercise professional, such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, who cares about your well-being, understands any challenges you may be facing medically and who has the skills and knowledge to help you manage your condition.

To locate your local accredited exercise professional, visit the ESSA website.

For more information on Movember and a range of resources on men’s health, visit the Movember Foundation website.