Men are well known for putting off regular medical checkups — and they’re also known for coming up with excuses for not staying in shape. Exercise and getting screened for certain medical conditions are both critical. Exercise, of course, require putting aside more time — about 30 minutes a day for aerobics or strength training.
Their top excuse: Not enough time due to job schedule or household responsibilities. Both men and women need to be reminded of the important of physical fitness, and how combined with healthy eating can help reduce the risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
While men can be more stubborn when it comes to finding time for exercise, both men and women need some guidance as to how much exercise they need, explains clarifies Monica Suarez Kobilis, M.D., is a family medicine physician with Baptist Health Primary Care.
“I find that men and women both need specific guidelines, for example 150 minutes weekly of moderate intensity activity. And I then give examples,” said Dr. Suarez Kobilis.
Men are likely to be under the impression that they have to “pump iron” at the gym like a bodybuilder to achieve physical fitness. But that’s a major misconception.
The formal physical fitness guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) call for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week. Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week, the AHA says. Those guidelines are meant for both men and women.
“The top benefits from regular exercise for men include overall decreased risk of multiple medical conditions and longer life expectancy,” said Dr. Suarez Kobilis. “Regular exercise can also lead to a decreased risk of coronary disease, improved cholesterol levels, decreased inflammatory markers, better blood pressure, better sleep and overall better mood.”
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include:
- brisk walking (at least 2.5 miles per hour)
- water aerobics
- dancing (ballroom or social)
- tennis (doubles)
- biking slower than 10 miles per hour
Both men and women generally understand the importance of exercise, said Dr. Suarez Kobilis, but they mostly lack motivation.
“People in general know that exercising is good for them, they just need the motivation or willpower to start a routine,” she explains. “That can be difficult when one is trying to balance career, family responsibilities, housework and everything else.”