5 Common Questions About Men’s Physical and Mental Health

Jun 13, 2023 - neurocare group

In recognition of Men’s Health Week and the theme Healthy Habits, neurocare is reflecting on five core factors of men’s health and highlighting small but important improvements all men can make to foster better health in the long term.

Are regular health checks important? (and when should I have them?)

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and serious health conditions like prostate cancer and heart disease can be better managed and treated if they are identified early.

While health checks and screening are much more important over the age of 45 certain conditions can be identified earlier, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners1 recommends the following timeline:

In your 20s
  • Testicular tumours/cancer
  • Mental health
  • Melanoma/skin cancer
  • Drug & alcohol issues

In your 30s & 40s
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Respiratory illnesses & lung cancer

In your 50s & 60s
  • Bowel cancer
  • Bone density
  • Prostate cancer
  • Visual and hearing impairment


Is mental health as important as physical health?

At neurocare, our focus is mental health. Seventy-five per cent of all suicides in Australia are by boys and men and in 2021 a total of 1,559 men and boys under the age of 55 died by suicide2. Men are also nearly three times more likely than women to become dependent on alcohol or report other regular drug use3.

Meanwhile, men are far less likely to seek help for mental health conditions than women with only 37% of men who experienced a mental disorder in the past 12 months seeking assistance for their mental health compared with 54.7% of females4. Taking time to prioritise mental health is key to good long term health. If you want to establish ways to manage the multitude of influences on your mental health, health coaching services may be a good fit for you.


How important is a good night’s sleep?

In the US 15-30% of males meet a broad definition of obstructive sleep apnea5. With rising economic pressure and in combination with gender stigmatisation, men tend to prioritise sleep less than women and are less likely to take measures regarding sleep hygiene6. Our motivation, energy, concentration, behaviour, memory, mood and ability to learn are all affected by lack of sleep. Sleep issues underlie a wide range of mental health problems and can cause or exacerbate symptoms in ADHD, depression, OCD, anxiety and general learning, behavioural or mood disorders. Sleeping is at the core of health and working with clinical services that understand this, is key.


Why is cognitive exercise so important for men?

A survey analysis of more than 10.000 Americans conducted by the University of Michigan found that the dementia rate decreased by about 24 per cent from 2000 to 20126. Research at John Hopkins found a correlative association between years of education and this decline since during the same time the average number of years of education increased from approximately 12 to 136. While we may say that this effect is caused by mediating factors such as awareness of diet and other lifestyle elements, it is clear that performing mentally stimulating tasks often improves cognitive function and reduces the impact of ageing on the brain. Education contributes to the brain’s natural ability to change and adapt (neuroplasticity) and thus acts like “oil in the engine”. So why not learn something new once in a while? It’s fun and healthy!


How important is physical activity with regards to my (mental and physical) health?

“Healthier lifestyle” is a perfect transition to our next topic: Physical activity. Of course, we all know that it is important to move but did you know that physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for non-communicable disease mortality? The WHO reports that individuals who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased mortality risk as compared to adults that move regularly7. In fact, the report shows, some physical activity is already far better than doing none and helps evade a lot of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, bone and functional conditions and obesity. We also know that physical activity vastly improves mental health7 which is why at neurocare, we put an emphasis on a holistic understanding of the human mind, including how it interacts with physical health.


Personalisation is key to good health – especially in times of uncertainty!

When you look at the big picture, all these factors are intertwined. Being active promotes healthy sleep while training cognitive abilities enables better focus and resilience which in turn supports mental health and performance (physical and mental).

Working with health professionals who respect the psychosomatic nature of health, the interconnectedness of body and mind offers more promising and sustainable outcomes from care.


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