Let’s Talk About Men’s Health
Talking about Men’s Health is something we think needs to be encouraged and done more often.
We have featured stories from some of our about what causes them stress, how they manage that stress and their overall health and wellbeing.
We also polled you, our clients, to see how you manage your own health and wellbeing and the results of this are summarised in this article. Thank you to all those who completed the survey or shared their stories with us.
Age of respondents
All respondents were aged between 25 and 64 years old with the following breakdown.
- 28.6% were 25 - 34 years old
- 28.6% were 35 - 44 years old
- 28.6% were 45 - 54 years old
- 14.3% were 55 - 64 years old
50% were parents with over half having children under 11.
Most were in professional occupations or self-employed
Pressures on Men
We asked all respondents what they thought the biggest pressures were on men and the majority cited balancing family, life and work, mental health and work stress as the main pressures.
Stereotypes and the perception that men shouldn't show weakness also came high up on the list of pressures.
"The expectation to be the bread winner and enjoy manly pursuits (pub etc.), however it is better to have time away with your thoughts and talk about what's going on in your head."
Unsurprisingly the pandemic and uncertainty around employment also featured strongly in the responses we received.
Sport featured strongly as a way to cope with these pressures with a range of sports:
- 71.4% Cycling
- 28.6% Martial Arts
- 28.6% Running
- 14.3% Swimming
However, we also saw Yoga feature for a small number of people too.
Alongside sport, a range of hobbies were also mentioned including reading, travel, baking, music, movies and gaming.
The changing perception of masculinity
The stereotypical role of the male is changing, it is great that mental health is recognised and talked about more for men, however there is still a long way to go, here are some of the responses we received about the perception of masculinity.
"I think the modern world has just increased expectations of all genders to be able to do everything and achieve everything."
"It's starting to change, and thankfully. Masculinity (as well as femininity) in its 'traditional' terms should be eradicated. We're all human, and should do as we feel, not as some norms prescribe."
Given the age range of our respondents, we are unsurprised that many of you highlighted that you manage some form of physical or mental issue.
42.9% of you have a mental health condition - it is great that so many of you are able to share this and is a sign again of the way that the perception of masculinity is changing, however we hope that this number will drop as this is talked about more and you are able to gain the support you need.
With so many of you taking part in sports, finding that 57.1% of you have muscular/skeletal conditions was to be expected as although exercise is great for us some types of exercise can put additional pressure on our joints. This is where nutrition and other activities are important to support your body, particularly as you get older.
For me, physical exercise is an essential part of keeping my mental health as well as my physical health
We all know that diet as well as exercise is important to us and we were surprised to find that only 33.3% of you were getting your '5 a day'. A healthy diet is so important and how we fuel our body will have an effect on our overall health and wellbeing.
Alongside this, drinking enough water is also important and we were pleased that 66.7% of you were drinking over 2 litres a day.
There are strong links between diet, energy levels and mental health, so reviewing your dietary habits is a great stip to finding ways to cope with the day to day stresses we all face.
Health & Wellbeing Aims
Ending positively it is great to see so many of you have really focused aims for your health and wellbeing moving forward.
- Remaining active in retirement
- Taking care of your body and mind
- Overall fitness improvement
- Improving mental health
It was evident from the survey that everyone has some form of stress in their life, which has the potential to become a negative influence, if it's not managed appropriately
However, despite this potential, all respondents associated building resilience with focusing on physical activity to maintain good mental health.
It's encouraging that the connection between the mind and the body is being actively recognised and that social pressures are being managed through nutrition, exercise, and social interaction, to achieve a sense of balance.
All respondents felt that some of the conventional stereotypes of masculinity - of being the breadwinner, of being strong, not showing emotion, and carrying on' - were still issues, but hopefully, by continuing to talk about this and by masculinity taking on multiple forms, these pressures can be reduced.