Diabetes is a chronic health condition, the complications of which cause a lot of suffering, and even death. Unfortunately men are more likely to develop the condition. The reason is that a major risk factor is being overweight. Furthermore, the kind of weight men put on, on their liver and around their belly, is more dangerous than other kinds of fat. If women put on weight, it tends to be more evenly distributed. So a man does not have to put on the same amount of weight as women in order to carry the same burden of risk.
Fortunately exercise has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Regular aerobic exercise can cut the risk by up to half. Regular weights can also reduce the risk by up to 34%. Combining them both can reduce your risk by up to 69%.
So the research is clear. If you want to protect yourself against diabetes, you need to start a vigorous exercise regimen.
But we all already know that exercise improves our physical and emotional health, yet most men find it incredibly difficult to even exercise once a week. I think part of the reason for this is men are status sensitive. There is nothing more demoralising than turning up at a gym feeling (or being) the fattest and most unfit! You know you are at the bottom of the food chain, and this is simply too much for most of us to bear.
For this reason I think the best thing to do is start small (and avoid gyms!). Start with just 5 minutes a day. Once the habit is established, build it up slowly. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A brisk walk round the block is ideal.
Success builds motivation, so start small, and before you know it you will be looking and feeling better and protecting your health for the long run.
Dr Phil Tyson is a Men's Psychotherapist based in Manchester in the UK. He offers:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt) for men in Manchester
- Counselling for men in Manchester
- Psychotherapy for men in Manchester
- Telephone and Skype counselling for men wherever you live
- Supervision and consultative support for therapists in Manchester
- Mediation for employment disputes in Manchester and the UK