HKIN 115 Promoting Physical Activity to Adult Men
1. Which “group” have you chosen to focus on (one word answer)? Why this group?
The focus of this paper is to promote physical activity to adult men. I have chosen this
group because my father is inactive, and I worry about his health and well being because of it. I
try to help motivate him to be physically active and have a healthy lifestyle.
2. What are the health benefits of physical activity for this particular segment of the
There are many health benefits of physically activity including reducing or controlling
body fat, stress hormones, and blood sugars, improving the immune system, and reducing the
risk of depression and dementia (Thompson, A., September 21 2009). Looking at adult males in
particular, physical activity is a good idea to help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
As outlined on the heart and stroke foundation website, one of the five major
uncontrollable risk factors of heart disease is gender. Men are more likely to have a stroke or
develop heart disease than premenopausal women. To make up for this uncontrollable risk
factor, there are many risk factors of heart disease that can be controlled, such as physical
inactivity, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, being overweight, and stress. All of these risk
factors can be reduced or prevented by physical activity (Heart Disease Prevention, n.d.)
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a type of heart disease, as well as the
number one risk factor for stroke, and a major risk factor for heart disease. Blood pressure is a
measure of the force exerted on the walls of your blood vessels, or, arteries. This pressure, if
higher than normal, can consequently damage blood vessel walls and promote the build-up of
fatty plaque. This narrows, and eventually blocks arteries, which strains and weakens the heart.
A stroke occurs when blood pressure is very high which can cause blood vessels in the brain to
burst. With proper treatment of high blood pressure, one can reduce the chances of having a
stroke by 40%, and heart attack by up to 25%. Being physically active decreases the pressure
that is being exerted on blood vessel walls, reducing ones risk of hypertension, stroke, heart
attack and other heart disease. (High Blood Pressure, 2008)
Another risk factor that leads to a build-up of plaque in the artery walls is high
cholesterol. This high level of cholesterol (a type of fat found in ones blood) results in a
condition called atherosclerosis, which again is the narrowing of the arteries, increasing chances
of heart disease. Being physically active at least 30 minutes a day improves HDL cholesterol
(good cholesterol) levels, improving ones cholesterol level (High Blood Cholesterol, n.d.)
Physical activity also relives stress, helping to reduce high blood pressure, high blood
cholesterol, and the risk of atherosclerosis. It also prevents one from turning to other ways of
dealing with stress that may increase the risk of heart disease, such as smoking, excessive
alcohol use, and unhealthy eating.
People who are inactive (walking less than 30 minutes a day) are twice as likely to be at
risk for heart disease or stroke as those who engage in 30-60 minutes of physical activity most
days of the week. Physical activity helps reduce or prevent all of the risk factors in some way.
(Physical Inactivity, n.d.)
Another health benefit of physical activity for adult men is concerning cancer. Men have
a 44% lifetime risk of getting cancer compared to only 38% in women (Thompson, A., October
8, 2009). Statistics from 2005 and 2004 found on the Canadian Cancer Society website show that
incident and mortality rates, for all cancers combined are greater in males than females. It was
found that the increase in mortality and incidence rates in both males and females essentially
begins at the 30-35 year age groups, directly relating the topic to adult men (Cancer Statistics,
Something one may do to help prevent cancer is being physically active. This is typically
described as expending at least 3kcal/kg/day (A. Thompson, September 15, 2009). It is reported
that 30-35% of all cancers can be prevented by being active, eating well, and maintaining a
healthy weight (Be Active, 2008). Nineteen per cent of cancer cases in women could be
prevented, and 20% of cancer cases in men could be prevented (Thompson, A., October 8,
2009). It is found that regular physical activity protects against colorectal, breast, and uterine
cancer. People who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing cancer of the breast,
oesophagus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, pancreas, and uterus, and being physical activity is one of
the best ways to achieve and maintain a healthy weight (Fitness and Health, 2008).
Major health benefits of being physically active, specifically for adult men, include, but
are not limited to, reducing risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Being physically
active also reduces the risk of diabetes, increases bone mass, and makes one feel good.
3. How or why is this “group” at risk of low levels of physical activity? In other
words why is this group not as active as they should be? What are the particular barriers
they face to their physical activity participation?
There are many reasons why Canadians may be at risk of low levels of physical activity.
Forty-eight per cent of Canadians are considered inactive. This means that 48% of Canadians
walk less than 30 minutes a day. Adult men in general, are at a higher risk of being inactive than
younger males (Thompson, A., September 15, 2009). Barriers that may prevent adult males from
being active regularly include time or financial issues, personal reasons, as well as reasons due to
their physical and social environment (Thompson, A., September 21, 2009).
Many adult men feel that they do not have the time or money to engage in physical
activity due to work, family commitments, and other activities. Most adult men have jobs that
they go to most days of the week. When they are not at work, there are other commitments that
they feel that must fulfill, such as spending time with a spouse, or with their children. This could
include watching television or a movie, sitting down to talk and discuss their days, or other non-
leisure activities in many cases, contributing to the fact that 48% of Canadians are inactive. In a
large number of cases, I think that men feel like they need to spend excessive amounts of money
to be physically active, for example, buying expensive home equipment, or gym memberships.
This may be another large contributor to them being active.
There are other personal reasons that keep men from being physically active, such as lack
of motivation, knowledge, energy, or physical skill, long-term injury or disability, or even fear of
injury. After a long day of work, I believe that a lot of the time, men feel that they are too tired to
be physically active. I believe that they often lack the motivation to go to be physically active
because they do not know how or where to start. They may feel like the only way that they can
be physically active is to go to the local gym, and think that it is too much effort, and likely don’t
believe it’s worth it. If the person at one time had an injury, they may not think they are able to
be physically active, especially if they believe that the only way is to go to the gym. In addition
to this, they may feel like they do not have to skill or ability to begin the physical activity that
they may need. Whether it is lack of knowledge, or motivation, there are many individual factors
that affect the amount of activity an adult male does.
In addition to the time, financial, and personal factors, adult men also face economic and
social barriers that they must overcome to be physically active. These barriers include lack of
facilities in the area, trouble finding someone to participate with, and transportation troubles. As
mentioned before, the inactive may believe that the only way to be physically active is to go to a
gym, or recreational center, and if there is not one in the area, it will often result in the person
simply not being active. Similar to this idea, they may feel that finding transportation to and from
places which they would be active is too difficult. They may also not want to do things on their
own, and may be unable to find someone to participate with, and therefore are not active.
4. How would you suggest this group address their barriers to physical activity?
All of the barriers of being physically active that adult men face can be overcome, or
avoided. Being active begins at only 30 minutes of walking per day. With more knowledge in the
area, men could easily find the time, money, motivation, and facilities to become active. The
hardest part is just getting started.
Thirty minutes in the big picture, is not a huge amount of time. Many people have the
idea that you must travel to the gym, and work out for 30 minutes to an hour, and then come
back home, which could in fact be too time consuming for a working father or husband, or adult
male with other commitments. This in fact is not the case, and there are other ways to ensure that
you are physically active without going to the gym. A great way for men to increase their
physical activity is to participate in active transportation. It is estimated that Canadians make
2000 short trips (less than 30 minutes walking) a year, 92% of which by car (Thompson, A.,
September 17, 2009). Whether it is going to get the mail, letting the dog out to use the
washroom, or picking up your kids from the bus stop, active transportation adds up. For
example, a man who has kids that must go off to school before he heads to work could walk with
them to the bus stop instead of driving them there. The same idea applies when getting the mail.
Whether it is only 5 minutes away, or 10 minutes away, something as simple as active
transportation could add up to 20 minutes of physical activity, 2/3 of the way there for beginners!
Men who think that it is more important to stay at home and spend time with the family, or watch
the game than to be physically active could open up their mind, and think of ways to combine the
two. They could play catch outside with their kids for half an hour or an hour, or go for a walk
with the family. Instead of watching TV, they could walk to the recreational center, park, or
arena as a family to watch the sporting events happening there and support the local teams.
These ideas do not cost money, for those of which money may be an issue, and may even save
money if the cost of cable and gas is taken into account. In addition to these ideas, there are
recreational sports teams that those who can afford it could participate in rather than getting
together with friends to watch the game, or play poker. The people who are inactive must simply
manage their time, and plan ahead to get in the amount of physical activity needed to achieve a
healthy lifestyle, and overcome the time and money barrier.
To conquer the personal challenge of finding the motivation and courage to start being
active, I believe that having the proper information and knowledge of potential consequences
should be enough to motivate people. Men may not realize what risks they are facing by being
inactive, and that those risks severely outweigh the risks they would be taking when being active
such as looking bad due to lack of skill, or and risk of injury. Another good way to get motivated
is to be active with a friend, your wife, or even your kids. This would not only help yourself, but
would encourage the one you are doing it with to be active as well. If the problem is that they
feel like they are too tired, and do not have the energy after a day of work, and did not meet their
physical activity goal by the end of the work day, there are other ways to do so. Having a
different outlook on physical activity is a good start. You must motivate yourself enough to want
to be active. It should not feel like punishment or work. If they do not have the energy or time to
go to the gym, they could work on things around the house when they got home, which in a lot of
cases have to be done anyways. For example, instead of sitting down after work, they could cut
the grass, or vacuum the floor before dinner, and still have time to relax, or even better be active
with the family after dinner. A good method to staying motivated is to set goals for yourself,
starting out small.
Social and environmental obstacles can be avoided, again by knowing and understanding
the limitlessness of physical activity. It is not a good excuse for one to say that there is not a
local gym that you can attend, as you do not need to go to a gym to be physical active. Active
transportation, family activities, and recreational sports all add to the list of ways to be physically
active. If that is not enough for someone who for example wants to increase their physical
activity even more, there are other ways to get to the gym. One way is to encourage others in the
area to also become more physically active, and form a car pooling group that drives to the gym
once a week, for example. Another way is to do home exercises. There are workout routines you
can buy on DVD, or even routines that you can watch on the internet for free that you can follow
at your home with little equipment needed. Those who have the money can buy home exercise
equipment and workout on a regular basis without leaving the house.
5. What supports this group’s physical activity?
There are many things that adult men can use to their advantage to ensure that they are
getting enough physical activity to have a healthy lifestyle. Organizations such as parks Canada
and city and town councils put parks in for the general public to use. There are also community
sports and events that involve physical activity that men can participate in that helps achieve a
healthy lifestyle. In addition to this, there are also fundraisers and events that often involve
participants to be active while raising money and awareness at the same time.
Going to the park is a fantastic way to get some exercise. In most cases, there are outdoor
tracks that can be used by the general public which also gives people a chance to enjoy the
outdoors. There may be dog parks in the area which can be used to get exercise for both the
dogs, and their owners on a regular basis. Playgrounds can often be found within walking
distance, which again keeps children and parents active. Parks help to make people active, and
there are many different types of parks, that support physical activity.
There are numerous community events and recreational settings that support physical
activity for adult men. There are events and organizations such as sporting teams that offer a
large variety of opportunities to become physically active. There are also events open to the
public, for instance, family skating and swimming, which are a great way to stay active. Along
with these events and organizations, a huge supporter for physical activity is the presence of
wellness centers. Wellness centers offer memberships and classes which are an excellent way to
help men be active.
Participating in fundraising events is an outstanding way to stay active. Organizations
such as run for the cure, relay for life, and jump rope for heart, are all examples of fundraisers
that involve physical activity. Not only do these events raise money for important organizations
regarding the risks of being inactive, they also keep you informed of these risks, and help to
ensure that you are active. Certain sports teams and associations have their own fundraisers to
help raise money for the association which also often times involves being active. Whether it is a
walk-a-thon, a skate-a-thon, or simply going door to door to collect pledges, or sell products, it is
a great way to ensure that you are living a healthy life.
6. How can these supports be enhanced?
There are many different ways to enhance each of these supports. Again, the hardest part
is getting started. Once you are motivated enough, and ready to begin being physically active,
these supports are an enormous help to getting you there.
Adult men often have trouble fitting physical activity into their schedule due to other
commitments such as spending time with the family. To enhance the support of parks, and
outdoor recreational areas, they could combine the two commitments. For example, instead of
trying to find time to work out as well as spend time with family, a father could take his children
to the park to play catch, or walk around the track. This does not only count for men with
children, but it could also be an activity one could do with a girlfriend or wife, or even a pet.
Taking a walk in the park is also a great way to relieve stress, and get away from everything and
be alone for a bit if that’s what you feel like you need.
There are many opportunities to be physically active using the facilities and organizations
that community provides. There are sports teams and clubs that men can join and attend on a
weekly basis. Another way that men can use such teams to their advantage is volunteering to
help coach. For example, if a father whose kid is enrolled in sports does not have time to make it
to his child’s practices and games as well as his own, he could volunteer to help out with his
kid’s team and be physically active at practices that he would likely have to attend either way.
Men could also be active by going to other events held at community centers such as public
skating, or swimming, either alone, or with others.
Participating in such fundraisers as relay for life, or run for the cure, is an exceptional
way to be active. Along with raising money and awareness for the society or organization, and
becoming active for that time period, it also may motivate one to stay active. As mentioned
before, knowing the benefits of physical activity is a great motivation to start being active. Such
fundraises are for people of all ages, and definitely effect adult males. Often times these events
involve collecting pledges which in itself is a good way to be active. It also may involve training
for an event such as the run for the cure, which involves being active and improving your fitness
over a period of time.
7. What resources would you give/share with this group to help them become more
physically active? (Include at least 5 relevant resources of information)
1) Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living
-This handbook is a great way to help people get started with physical activity. It has lots of great
examples, and information on what choices to make to improve your health.
- This is the website for the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. It has information on how
to sign up, and other information.
-The Heart and Stroke Foundation website has a lot of information about heart disease, including
risk factors, what it is, and how to prevent it. It is a great way to learn more about heart disease,
and knowing all of this would help motivate men to become physically active. It also has action
plans that one may follow to ensure that they are living a healthy life.
4) Fitness & Recreation Services – Gym Pamphlet
-I would share a gym pamphlet with adult men who are looking to become physically active as
an example of what their local gym or wellness center provides. It gives a list of the facilities,
along with available times, and information about how to get started and get a membership.
-The Canadian Cancer Society website has lots of great information about cancer, and the
prevention of cancer. It has a section on fitness and health, along with a section for tips on how
to get started being active. It has lots of facts, and great information.
“Be Active” (2008) Retrieved from http://www.cancer.ca/canada-
“Cancer Statistics” (2009) Retrieved from http://www.cancer.ca/Canada-
“Fitness and Health” (2008) Retrieved from http://www.cancer.ca/canada-
“Heart Disease Prevention” n.d., Retrieved from
“High Blood Cholesterol” (n.d.), Retrieved from
“High Blood Pressure”, (2008), Retrieved from
“Physical Inactivity” (n.d.) Retrieved from