Men’s health week kickstarting the can do challenge and it’s not just for men!

June 1, 2021

Men’s Health Week takes place from the 14th to the 21st of June this year. A week that aims to raise awareness of male health issues affecting men and the people that care for them.

Last year the focus was on Diabetes, a condition that puts a lot of men at risk. This year, following the worldwide pandemic and the moving out of restrictions, the theme is ‘We Can Do It’ an opportunity to look at ways of boosting wellness and creating positive mental health.

Organised by Men’s Health Forum, the aims are always to raise awareness and help provide solutions to issues that affect men, but not exclusively. They will also focus on supporting the family and those around the man. The Can Do Challenge this year is a perfect opportunity to help the whole family adjust to coming out of lockdowns and restrictions and move forward whilst feeling safe and getting active again.

This year, Men’s Health Week is focussing on the Can Do Challenge. Simple tasks that can make a big impact.

The idea that five specific things can make a big difference to your sense of wellbeing is not new, but it is a great way to kickstart or focus your wellness journey and something that can be done alone or with family and friends. Best of all, there is no expensive equipment needed and it can be done without any cost unless you want to include paid for activities. The Five Ways help you feel good about yourself and can give you a real sense of achievement once you have done them. Once you feel good about yourself, it is so much easier to start looking at other areas of your life that you might want to improve, maybe your diet or exercise routine, maybe connecting more with friends and family, perhaps providing the confidence you need to take up a new sport or hobby.

The Five Ways were developed by the New Economics Foundation as a way to promote wellness during the Coronavirus crisis. Easy to do and apply to daily life, they aim to promote behaviours that enhance individual wellbeing.

The Five Ways are:

    1. Connect: feeling close to and valued by other people. Maybe pick up the phone and make a call rather than sending a text. Talk to someone new at work, the school gates or the gym. Join a club or group. Meet up with someone you haven’t seen for ages, a walk, a coffee or a lunchbreak in the park. After over a year of restrictions, most of us would welcome the offer of some real human interaction.
    2. Be Active: Simple changes in everyday life can help us get moving, especially after a year of working from home. Little changes can go towards the amount of exercise we do, take the lift instead of the stairs, get off the bus one sop early. Easy changes that can increase the amount we moved every day, good for weight management, circulation and even our mental wellbeing.

If you work sitting down, get up and stretch. Get outside at lunchtime, especially into a green space. As gyms and sports centres open up again, it might be the pefect time to get back to an exercise routine. Be gentle on yourself, we have all been through a difficult year so break yourself back into routines gently.

Be gentle on yourself when heading back into an exercise routine, especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly.

  1. Take Notice: Give yourself a shake up and do something different from your normal routine or become aware of familiar surroundings and notice something new. Look up at tall buildings or the sky, instead of at the pavement (or your phone!) Take a different route on a familiar journey, Try somewhere new for lunch or maybe simply a new sandwich filling!
  2. Learn: We can learn from so many sources and it is good for us to flex our mental muscles from time to time. Discovering something new can bring a different and more positive energy to things we already do or lead us to new hobbies. Read a book, sign up to a class, learn some simple DIY and fix something at home.
  3. Give: Many volunteers will tell you that their volunteering gives them a purpose in life and also helps put their own issues into perspective. It can also be very rewarding seeing the results of something that you have taken the time to do. It doesn’t have to be a fulltime role, simple giving back such as visiting an isolated neighbour, putting something in a food bank collection, helping out a friend with a favour or simply saying thank you to someone. Little things can make positive changes to ourselves, our environment and to others.

The Can Do Challenge is a way of taking five days to do five things and who knows, it might set you on a path to bigger things. It might become the springboard for a new exercise regime or if you find yourself feeling more positive, following a healthier diet might become easier.

As your routine changes, keep your supplementation relevant and change your regime accordingly.

Good nutrition underpins good health, so it makes sense to review your diet and any supplements when you are taking steps to improve your health and wellness. If you are starting in a new exercise routine or returning to your old one, if you haven’t been exercising as much for the past few months make sure that you look after your muscles and support recovery. A supplement such as L-Glutamine is a good addition to your post lockdown exercise routine. L-Glutamine plays a number of roles in the body, including supporting the immune system. It also is used by the body to maintain muscle protein and although it may not help build muscle mass, studies show that when supplementing with L-Glutamine, athletes had less muscle soreness and strength loss. It may also help reduce fatigue and improve exercise recovery.

To support your cardio workout, you might like to use a Co Q 10 supplement, this important antioxidant nutrient also plays a role in cellular energy. It can be combined with potassium nitrate which is a precursor to nitric oxide which plays a role in cardiovascular health. These nutrients are a great combination to take alongside your workout.

Coming out of lockdown and all the restrictions is not just about getting fit and back to the gym, for many, the actual getting back to work and mixing with others can feel quite stressful and overwhelming.  Don’t be too hard on yourself, if it all feels a bit daunting. There are nutrients that can support the nervous system such as the B Complex nutrients, they contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and to the proper functioning of the nervous system. Add in a magnesium supplement too, not only does that also contribute to normal functioning of the nervous system and also normal physiological function.

Getting back in touch with the world and other people may seem a bit daunting. Take time rather than do everything at once.

If you are having trouble switching off your mind when you are trying to relax or focus on something else, the amino acid L-theanine has been shown to calm and relax without making you drowsy. One to remember if you feel that you would like to switch off but not feel drowsy or hung over the next day.

Once you are mixing with people again, whether socially, returning to work, visiting the gym or just getting out shopping more, it still makes perfect sense to be aware of sensible precautions such as regular handwashing and wiping down things like phone screens, work areas and shopping trollies.  Ensure your diet has plenty of variety including fresh fruit and veg, keep hydrated with regular drinks or water and think about supplements that are needed to help the functioning of the immune system.

Vitamins C and D as well as the mineral zinc are all required by the body for proper immune function. Whether topping up with a multi nutrient formula or taking the nutrients individually, it is a good idea include these nutrients in your supplement regime.

As the world opens up again, it might take some adjusting to, but using simple techniques like the Five Things and giving yourself some TLC, it will smooth the journey and hopefully we can all get back to being our normal selves.

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