Picture this. Your grandfather gazes into your grandmother’s eyes, leans over to her ear, and whispers, “What will you do when I’m gone?”
This is an all too real scenario where women tend to outlive men. By the age of 65 years and older, 57% of those still living are women while this number jumps to 67% by the age of 85. Globally women tend to live 7 years longer than men.
What is the cause for this?
It’s been cited that men take more risks than women and a greater majority work in riskier occupations. I think back to my young adult days when my frontal lobe - the part of the brain responsible for decision making - was still developing, while my testosterone was raging. The cliff jumping I did to impress my peers or the jobs I considered up north on drilling rigs make these statements ring true.
But what is it that makes men live shorter lives in their older years?
Heart disease. Men are 50% more likely to die of heart disease than women and at a younger age. And when you account for poorly treated high blood pressure and unfavourable cholesterol levels the state of men’s health gains clarity.
What can we do to balance out the ratio of men and women into older age?
We could create a drug to expedite frontal lobe development and prescribe it to every boy. Or ban cheeseburgers, chocolate cake, and other unhealthy food from the male diet. But these options are outlandish, what is something realistic - YOGA.
Yoga is one of the greatest health revolutions the world has ever seen. It is the ultimate biohacking tool where we can take ownership of our biology to enhance our wellbeing through lifestyle medicine. The magic of yoga comes from observing the movement of breath within the body. This allows the yogi practitioner to go beneath the external and into the subtle layers of their biology. To tap in, or hack, the movement of energy within the autonomic nervous system that acts largely unconsciously and controls bodily functions such as heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate.
If you’ve ever gone to a phenomenal yoga class where you leave feeling utterly relaxed and refreshed in your mind-body, then you’ve experienced the yoga glow or as I call it the yoga stone. Your parasympathetic nervous system has been activated allowing for a state of homeostasis where rest and digestion can occur. The more often your body is in this state of being, versus the threat induced sympathetic nervous system, blood pressure lowers, healthier lifestyle choices are made, and the immune system is bolstered.
If further evidence is needed for the positive health benefits of yoga, William J. Broad in his book The Science of Yoga, states, “Clinical studies have shown that patients who do yoga have fewer hospital visits, less need for drug therapy, and a smaller number of serious coronary events ranging from heart attacks to death.”
As a male yoga practitioner and teacher I’m passionate about getting more men involved in the practice on the mat. What can we do to promote more men to do yoga?
Create classes specifically geared towards men. Broga. Support yoga brands designed for men like Warrior Addict. Continue to spread awareness of yoga globally to create a tipping point where most people have a practice of movement medicine they engage with daily.
If you walk into a typical yoga class the ratio is still predominantly women, however, the men’s yoga revolution is here and exponentially growing. We’re starting to see more men in classes, and the more we do the more we’ll see men thriving alongside women into older age.
Writen By Michael James Toru Walsh