Beating The Top Five Killers of Men

There’s a common theme that runs through the top five killers of men…

Exercise can play a life-saving role in every single one.

In order, the five biggest killers of mean are:

  1. Ischaemic Heart Disease.
  2. Lung Cancer.
  3. Dementia.
  4. Stroke.
  5. Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease.

Let’s explore how exercise can help…

Ischaemic heart disease: 
People who have suffered a previous myocardial infarction may experience the following long term exercise effects: Increased oxygen consumption; Increase in the sensitivity of the ventilatory response to exercise; Reductions in angina symptoms due to reductions in resting heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen demand; Increased variability of heart rate; Favourable changes in body composition, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels and low density lipoproteins; 20-25% reduction in total and cardiovascular related mortality.

Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers: 
The research on the effects of exercise on cancer is currently growing at a considerable rate. Effort is being put into the investigation of exercise as a prevention for cancer. This has been suggested for several major forms, including lung, prostate, breast and colon cancers. The biggest benefit of exercise for cancer patients though is the effect on the immune system, the ability to maintain functional abilities through treatment and an improvement of mood and quality of life. In essence, exercise increases the body’s coping resources and aids them in dealing with cancer. More specifically, exercise plays a major role in reversing the negative effects of various exercise treatments. Many treatments increase the risk of such conditions as coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Exercise combats these side effects at every step.

Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias: 
The major benefits of exercise for this class of conditions are the increase in functionality participants can experience, and the enjoyment the exercise brings. Depression and other psychological conditions are commonly associated with Alzheimer’s. Exercise helps to counter this by encouraging social interaction, further developing positive psychological health.

Stroke and other cerebrovascular disease: 
There is a strong relationship between individuals who have suffered a cerebrovascular accident and high levels of deconditioning. The potential for improvement is therefore very large. Exercise can result in improvements in any lost motor function and increases in the ability to perform activities of daily living, particularly ambulation, balance and independent mobility. Reduced levels of depression and reduced cognitive symptoms have been identified in individuals who undertake an exercise program post- stroke. The treatment of associated conditions and risk factors such as hypertension, poor glucose regulation, poor blood lipid profiles and reduced body fat levels can play a major role in reducing the chance of secondary strokes.

Lower respiratory disease: 
Due to the asymptomatic nature of milder forms of infections, an individual with the condition can often experience the full benefits of exercise. More severe forms see relatively diminished levels of physical improvement. Benefits to the condition include: Improved exercise tolerance; Cardiovascular reconditioning; Improved efficiency of the ventilatory process; Increased muscle strength (ventilatory and general).

Here’s the even better news. Exercise isn’t selective. It shows no prejudice. A consistent and long term exercise program can reduce the risk and prevent every one of these conditions, and many more.

Dan Williams

Dan Williams


Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.