With November now upon us it’s time to start talking about men’s health again. What will you be doing to help this Movember?
What is Movember?
Movember aims to raise awareness for the more than 150,000 Australian men who die from physical or mental health issues every year.
The Movember Foundation preach, “Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends face a health crisis that isn’t being talked about. Men are dying too young. We can’t afford to stay silent.”
It’s a common stigma that feelings are feminine and therefore many men struggle to open up and discuss issues with those around them. Last year the Australian Bureau of Statistics found suicide was the leading cause of death for Australian males aged between 18 and 44. Indeed Australian males are three times more likely to die from suicide than females.
We need to start talking about these issues.
Public responses to Movember
In recent years, various campaigns have aimed to get men talking about their feelings and accepting that it is okay to talk.
UK rugby player Luke Ambler prompted a huge men’s mental health social media campaign a few years ago when he posted a heartfelt selfie to Facebook that encouraged his friends and other teams mates to start talking about their problems.
This selfie, following the premature death of his brother-in-law to suicide, kick started the #ItsOkToTalk campaign. This campaign went viral over social media and was shared by thousands of men , who opened up about their own stories and issues with mental health and prompted other friends to share theirs too.
Many high-profile celebrities and athletes soon came on board including English comedian Ricky Gervais and Australian NRL player Beau Ryan.
How exercise can improve mental health
While learning to talk about feelings may be one excellent way to improve mental health issues, new research is also showing that there may be other ways.
Recent studies have found that exercise and in particular weight bearing exercise may be an incredible stimulant for increasing mood and overall cognitive function.
According to a study by The University of Sydney, lifting weights at eighty per cent of one’s peak strength twice a week can lead to improved cognitive ability over a six-month period.
The university reported that while research is still underway to determine exactly how the link between the brain and muscle strength works, it is most likely that people who participate in resistance and strength training will age better and be at less risk of developing a degenerative disorder like Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
The lead author of the study Dr Yorgi Mavros reported “What we found in this follow up study is that the improvement in cognition function was related to their muscle strength gains. The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.”
While running and other forms of cardio are excellent for producing endorphins and therefore enhancing mood, research shows the hormones that are produced from weight lifting have a completely different effect on the brain. Training at a high intensity or eighty per cent of one’s strength will prompt these hormones to begin the process of cognitive improvement.
Unfortunately, nine out of ten Australians currently don’t meet the recommended guidelines of participating in strength and resistance training twice a week and therefore won’t gain these benefits.
It’s time to start thinking for the future.
Get involved this Movember!
There has never been a better time to start encouraging yourself and those around you to discuss their feelings and to get active. And don’t forget to grow that thick, plush moustache to raise funds for The Movember Foundation while you’re at it.
Don’t forget, Bulk Nutrients will be donating $5 from every bag of Test Max sold in November to the Movember Foundation Australia. We’ll also have a few sneaky social media posts where the amount of likes and comments will be translated into $1 donations, so keep an eye out for them!