Top benefits of exercise for men
We know that exercise is important to our physical and mental well-being. For men, this is a particularly important aspect of long-term health. For Men’s Health Week, the Chicago Dental Society is bringing articles and information to men and their loved ones to help raise awareness of preventable health problems.
Exercising can increase energy levels, boost your mood and add years to your life. Making a commitment to exercise consistently needn’t involve a pricy gym membership or a huge investment of precious time from your time. Just being active – every day – can reap benefits.
Regular exercise burns calories and helps keep weight off. For men, being physically fit helps them live longer, lowers their risk of certain diseases, improves their quality of life and can even help maintain testosterone levels as they age.
The Mayo Clinic spells out the top benefits of exercise for men:
Higher testosterone levels. Exercise may help counter the drop in testosterone that occurs as men age, research suggests. In one study, even a modest boost in physical activity increased testosterone levels. This was true as well for men who hadn't been exercising before. In contrast, the safety of taking testosterone supplements to raise their "T levels" is still in question.
Better quality of life. Regular physical activity can help relieve tension, depression, anxiety and anger. Most people report improvements in their overall well-being when they include physical activity in their routines. Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can boost energy levels, the ability to sleep soundly and self-image.
Lower risk of some cancers. Men who are physically fit in middle age have lower cancer risks as they age. Research from the American Society of Clinical Oncology found that men who were the most physically fit in middle age were less likely to have lung or colorectal cancer as they got older. Other research has also shown that physical activity helps lower the risk of certain cancers.
Lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Men are still more likely to have a heart attack than women are, and men's death rates from heart disease are also higher. But research shows regular exercise improves blood circulation, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Moderate exercise also improves many risk factors for heart disease, including lower blood-cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and improved blood-sugar levels.
Lower risk of death from diabetes and sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. For men with sleep apnea and diabetes, moderate exercise keeps the weight off, decreasing the risk of death from both conditions.
Longer life. Men’s fitness level can predict length of life even better than body mass index (BMI) can, according to a study of more than 14,000 men. As a man's fitness improved, his risk of death from all causes dropped 15 percent and his risk of death from heart disease was reduced by 19 percent. Changes in BMI didn't show the same benefits.