If we’re honest, keeping on top of our health isn’t always a priority, with so many of life’s demands getting in the way.  

And men’s health is lagging women’s. 

Just look at these facts and figures from The Centre for Male Health at the University of Western Sydney: 

– Australian men have lower life expectancy 

– Are more likely to be overweight 

– Experience higher rates of a range of chronic diseases in comparison to women 

 – 50% of men are insufficiently physically active 

– 97% do not eat the recommended serves of vegetables 

– 71% do not eat enough fruit 

 – 13% of men aged 18+ are smokers daily 

 – 26% consume alcohol at levels that exceed the ‘lifetime risk guarantees’ 

 – Death by suicide is more than three times as common in men in comparison to women  

 – Men’s engagement with the health care system is often ‘suboptimal’ 

This Men’s Health Week (10-16 June 2024), North West Coaster Jamie Elphinstone, a wheelchair user, shares his tips for prioritising his health and what’s working for him. 

“For my physical health I try to get out for a push at least once a week. 

“As well, I see an exercise physiologist twice a week, who gets me to do different exercises to maintain my mobility and independence.” 

And Jamie’s found that achieving a long held goal – to host radio programs – is positive for his mental health. 

“Working at the radio station (Coast FM), specifically on air, has been great for my mental health as it’s a challenge and something that I’ve wanted to do since I was 16 years old.” 

If you find it a challenge to know where to start to improve your health, some tips from Healthy Male could be helpful.  

Their Good Health Heroes campaign, produced in partnership with the University of Western Sydney, promotes healthy habits ‘men can consider adopting to increase their overall health across three key categories: physical, mental and emotional.’ 

Using fun animations, the Good Health Heroes characters ‘build their best healthy self through small behaviour changes’. Like Physical Phil, ‘who understands that any movement is better than none’, Nourished Nick, ‘who knows the value of good nutrition’, and Rested Rohan, ‘who makes sure he gets a good night’s sleep and limits screen time in the evenings.’ Learn more about this campaign here. 

If getting active through Wheelchair Sports in Tasmania sounds good to you, contact ParaQuad Tasmania. Email pdst@paraquadtas.org.au or call 6272 816. 

Or if you’d like peer coaching as a person with spinal cord injury or physical disability, get in touch via propel@paraquadtas.org.au or call us on the number above.