VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the country marks the start of Canadian Men’s Health Week, a new study suggests most men are actually working themselves into an early grave — and many aren’t even aware they’re doing it.
According to the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, the majority of Canadian men are stressed at work.
“What we did was a study to find out how men viewed their own health at work, and what they did or didn’t do to take care of themselves at work,” foundation President Wayne Hartrick said. “The findings were really quite surprising.”
He said more than 80 per cent of respondents said they found their workplace stressful, and 60 per cent of them said that fact affected their ability to sleep well at night.
“Why is that important? Because the combination of stress and not a proper night’s sleep is a big factor in some of the health conditions that men lead the stats in,” Hartrick added. “Stress and lack of proper sleep, in combination, tend to create a bit of a spiral, because, of course, you’re not as rested, you go again into the stressful workplace, you’re not able to handle it, perhaps, as well.”
That includes conditions like heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, depression, mental illness, and more.
The foundation points out many men don’t even realize they’re being unhealthy, with Hartrick adding some findings were “troubling.”
“The guys that we were talking to, it was almost like this sort of hero mentality that a lot of working guys have,” he said. “We’re saying it’s ok, understand you’re excited about your job, but you’ve got to take care of yourself.”
He noted little changes can have big impacts.
Tips from the CMHF include standing while taking calls or during meetings, going for walking meetings — even around the office floor or building, giving your eyes a regular three-minute break from the computer, not drinking coffee after 3:00 p.m., and packing a healthy snack for work.
Outside of the office, little changes like ordering a salad instead of fries, taking the stairs for part of your elevator ride, or even intentionally parking further away from an entrance can all play a role in men’s health, Hartrick added.
“Finally, if you can, make sure you get at least seven hours sleep — your body needs the continuous seven hours to do its natural repair processes it does. You can’t make up for that by just sleeping in more the next day.”