The middle of June each year marks Men’s Health Awareness Week. The week aims to encourage all men to seek help to address any health concerns that they may be experiencing.

This year’s theme is ‘Men don’t talk’.

This focus was inspired by King Charles, who, earlier this year, shared that he had a problem with an enlarged prostate. In response, traffic to the NHS’ website page for this condition increased by 1000%. Prostate Cancer UK saw almost a doubling in the number of users of its online risk checker.

When it comes to health, both physical and mental, talking about our experiences is key. This was recently demonstrated when we spoke to men’s mental health charity, Andy’s Man Club, during our webinar focused on the links between fitness, talking and men’s mental health. Our guest speaker, Lucas was incredibly inspiring in sharing his own struggles with his mental health, and the support that this wonderful charity provides to men across the country.

You can catch up on the session, here. For the remainder of this article, we’ll discuss the specific benefits that engagement in physical activity can offer in support of men’s overall health and wellbeing.

What particular health challenges do men face?

Men face a variety of health challenges which can differ to women, not only based on physiological differences, but also trends in the way that we behave and engage socially with others. Here follows some of the key health challenges that men encounter, and how physical activity can help to prevent and alleviate such conditions.

Cardiovascular disease

Men are generally 2-3 times more likely to develop heart disease than women in their younger years. When we’re physically active, the heart speeds up and pumps more blood to the muscles. Just like any muscle, the more active the heart is, the bigger and stronger it gets. This means that the more you exercise, the lower your resting heart rate and blood pressure become, helping to alleviate the risk of heart and circulatory disease by 35%.


Men are at a higher risk of Type II diabetes, which is closely linked to obesity, poor diet and sedentary lifestyles. Physical activity, of course, helps burn calories and reduce the risk of obesity. Beyond this, the work carried out by your muscles also helps to use up excess blood glucose, and, in doing so, helps to prevent and manage Type II diabetes.

Mental Health

Social stigma around mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety means that these conditions are underdiagnosed amongst men. The latest statistics show that suicide rates are over 4x higher amongst men, than women, indicating a devastating impact of the failure to seek help.

Exercise can help boost mood and alleviate they symptoms of mental ill-health as it helps release chemicals called endorphins – natural mood elevators, while reducing levels the body’s key stress hormones.

Physical activity can also offer a social support network for men, helping us to build valuable connections, and through time, build the confidence to discuss our health with trusted individuals.

Reproductive health

Regular exercise has been shown to boost testosterone levels, enhance libido and improve sexual drive. By increasing circulation and improving cardiovascular health, physical activity can improve blood flow to the reproductive organs.

Liver disease

Men experience higher rates of liver disease such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. This is most often linked to alcohol consumption. Almost 10% more men than women consume alcohol, and men are much more likely to binge drink than women, with 25% reporting consuming at least nine drinks during such sessions.

Drinking is both a stress reduction and social tool for men. By replacing these behaviours with physical activity, men can find healthier means of managing stress and engaging with others, helping to reduce the risk of associated liver diseases.

Respiratory diseases

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has a higher prevalence among men, especially amongst smokers. For those looking to give up smoking, aerobic exercise can be a powerful tool to help ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings for cigarettes. Exercise also helps to decrease appetite and limit the weight gain that some people experience when they quit smoking.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of several types of cancer, including colon, prostate and lung cancers.

Helping to encourage physical activity in support of men’s health

There are, clearly, countless benefits that engagement in physical activity can bring to help alleviate and prevent the development of a full range of health conditions. Beyond these, exercise can also have a psychological impact, too.

We all come in different shapes and sizes, but we’re also capable of setting ourselves goals in terms of how we’d like to improve. Whether through weight loss, building muscle or simply being confident in the fact that we are taking good care of ourselves, fitness can have a huge impact on our self-image.

Exercise can also generate a sense of mastery when our goals are achieved, helping us to feel more proud of our achievements and succeed in other life tasks, including work.

As we acknowledge Men’s Health Awareness Week, our message is simple and clear: stay active, talk, and take care of your mind and body.