By Jonathan Watkins.
When you go into the Strength and conditioning room at SportsDock and see big guys lifting very heavy weights, it gives the impression of strong, resilient guys who are confident in life. However, you would be surprised to know that those same guys are THREE times more likely than women to commit suicide! (The Office for National Statistics).
The Fitness Team and I have written blogs on obesity, heart disease, and diabetes and the problems they cause within the UK population. However, it was found that suicide causes the highest amount of deaths amongst men in the UK. The most common suicide rates being in men aged 50 years old and younger, 40-44 being the age group most like to take their own life. A recent Horizons documentary, ‘Stop male suicide’, on BBC IPlayer pointed to depression and other forms of mental health as the biggest reasons for male suicide.
High profile actors like Robin Williams, and sportsmen, such as Gary Speed, being the most current stories of men taking their own lives due to depression. It seems, however, to be an embarrassing male topic, easier to avoid than to confront. Furthermore, we want to know what can help and how?
Of course, exercise is only a small part of the answer to better mental health. Nonetheless, there are studies that suggest exercise does have a positive effect. A recent study by Kathleen Mikkelsen et al, on Exercise and Mental Health (Sciencedirect.com, Exercise, and Mental Health), looked at exercise as an alternative to medication and concluded that exercise does have several positive effects on psychological, physiological and immunological systems of the body, all of which improve mental health. The study went further to say that exercise worked very well with people suffering from high anxiety and depression in particular, both of which are two of the most common causes of male suicide. It is evident that exercise has a positive effect on various aspects of mental health, although it is not the complete answer.
Encourage your friends, fathers, brothers, and uncles to exercise regularly. It could improve their quality of life.