The impact of community Men's Sheds on the physical health of their users
Health and Place
With men more susceptible than women to illness and mortality, and less likely to access primary healthcare services, there have been calls for more male friendly spaces within communities to engage 'hard to reach' men in physical health improvement. Research has shown that Men's Shed (Shed) activity can provide localised support for the mental health and social wellbeing of men within communities, yet less is known about Sheds' impacts on physical health. Drawing on qualitative interviews with
... 62 Sheds users, this study conceptualises proposed pathways from which Shed activity can lead to positive physical health outcomes. Findings showed that in attending a community Men's Shed and taking part in activities users reported (i) increased mobility and decreased sedentary behavior, (ii) increased ability to overcome physical illness or injury, (iii) improved diet, (iv) decreased alcohol use, and (v) improved physical health knowledge. These findings support wider recommendations for community-based male friendly approaches to physical health improvement, and stress the importance of health and care service delivery beyond boundaries of 'standard' NHS settings, especially when targeting those viewed as 'hard to reach'. While initiatives like Sheds do not offer a replacement of primary healthcare services, they have the potential to fit within existing health and social care practices as an alternative local health-engagement space for men.