Drink beer, take a risk, sweat out your anger—these are just some of the many life hacks that keep men fit and healthy
We all know that women are the healthier sex. We see the doc more often. We live longer. So why would we care what good habits guys use to stay fit? Because research shows that men have an easier time losing weight and finding happiness than women do, thanks to key lifestyle differences. Read on for eight of his healthy habits that are worth adding to your health arsenal. (While you're at it, you may as well learn how to Lose Weight Fast By Stealing Guys' Diet Tricks.)
1. Eat a Real Meal
"Many women eat too little at breakfast and lunch," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., author of The Flexitarian Diet. "And without enough calories and the right combination of protein, carbs, and fat in a meal, your blood sugar levels fluctuate." That can leave you feeling hungry, which increases your chances of staging a mid-afternoon vending machine raid or overeating at night.
In the morning, swap your usual bowl of cornflakes for an egg-and-cheese sandwich or oatmeal topped with nuts or fruit. Then, to stay full until dinner, bulk up your midday meal too. Front-loading your calories like this may feel like overeating, but research has found that it actually helps you take in fewer calories overall. (Try one of these Low-Calorie Breakfast Ideas to Supercharge Your Day.)
2. Be a Straight Shooter
Men yell at each other and no one cries. "It's socially acceptable for men to express anger, but we're taught it's not ladylike," says Sally Stabb, Ph.D., a psychologist at Texas Woman's University. That's especially bad because researchers at Boston University found that women who suppress their feelings, like anger, are four times more likely to die earlier from diseases like heart disease than those who speak up.
"Communicate with the person who made you angry," says Bree Maresca-Kramer, a mental health counselor in Palm City, Florida. "Say what you think, listen to the other person, and request a specific and concrete change." When something that makes you mad can't be tackled instantly, try sweating it out. "I often see men release their anger physically—say by running, lifting weights, or kickboxing," Maresca-Kramer says. Take a page from their playbook and power through a group cycling class next time you feel like blowing your top. Then revisit the issue with a fresh perspective.
3. Grab a Beer
Ounce for ounce, regular beer has about half the calories (12 per ounce) of wine and liquor. "And because it's carbonated, people usually drink beer more slowly," says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Optimal Life Foods. What's more, beer is heart-healthy. "It contains cholesterol-lowering polyphenols," says Grotto. (And that's just one of the 7 Healthy Reasons to Be Drinking Beer.)
Next time you're perched on a bar stool, order a light brew—in a bottle. "That way, you know you're getting exactly 12 ounces," says Blatner. "With draft beer, wine, or mixed drinks, you never know how many calories you're consuming." And let your drink sit before you swig. People drink ice-cold beer faster than cool brews.
4. Get Off the Bench
A Dutch study found that people who played soccer for two to three hours a week improved their bone density and heart health more than those who ran for the same amount of time, thanks to all the sprinting and kicking. "Plus, being on a team teaches communication skills that translate to all aspects of your life," says Bill Cole, founder and president of the International Mental Game Coaching Association.
Rally your friends to form a team, or find a league near you by contacting your local YMCA or community recreation center. Network to find teammates at meetup.com.
5. Go Big or Go Home
Whether they're demanding a raise or scaling a mountain, men tend to push the envelope more than women do, says Frank Farley, Ph.D., a psychologist at Temple University. "When you force yourself to take chances, you strengthen your ability to handle change," says Farley.
Go ahead and book that scuba diving or mountain climbing vacation. If you want to scale Yosemite's Half Dome, for instance, begin by signing up for lessons on an indoor rock wall. Then schedule a tougher outdoor climb immediately afterward to flex your newfound skills—and confidence.
6. Be a Show-Off
Recent research shows that while men are typically pleased with or indifferent to what they see in the mirror, eight out of 10 women are dissatisfied with their reflection. "If you don't like your body, it can rob you of confidence," says Amy Flowers, Ph.D., a psychologist in Macon, Georgia. "It also raises your risk for depression and anxiety."
Hit the gym. According to a recent study from the University of Florida, the act of exercising—even if you don't drop pounds—can change your perspective for the better. "It helps you be proud of what your body can accomplish," says study co-author Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D. "Plus, working out improves your mood, which trickles down to all the other aspects of your life, including your relationships."(And we have the perfect Confidence-Boosting Workout for you to try.)
7. Leave it Alone
"Men don't dwell on things like women do," says Maresca-Kramer. The difference may be, in part, biological: Women tend to rely on the right, or emotional, side of their brains, while men tend to be governed by their left, or analytical, sides. The problem is that obsessing about an issue for too long can lead to anxiety and depression.
Make a list. "Instead of focusing on how you feel, jot down a few actionable ways you can fix the problem," says Barbara Rubel, a stress and bereavement specialist in Kendall Park, New Jersey. "Having potential answers to your dilemma helps you gain control of a situation." This doesn't mean you shouldn't vent to your friends a little. Simply choose a confidante who you know will support you and encourage you to take action in a constructive way.
8. Show Yourself Some Love
About 60 percent of men masturbate regularly, compared to just 40 percent of women. If you aren't carving out a little "me" time, you may be missing out on some serious mental and physical benefits. "Orgasms release feel-good hormones, including endorphins and oxytocin," says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University. "That increases relaxation, improves sleep quality, and decreases anxiety."
Adopt it: Linger a little longer in bed in the morning, hit the hay earlier at night, or take an extra-long shower. Then, once you have some solo time, explore. "It may take a while to get comfortable with your body and figure out what works for you," says Hutcherson. The best part: All that practice helps you become more responsive during sex, which means you'll be enjoying more orgasms, more often. (Here are 5 Masturbation Tips for a Mind-Blowing Solo Session.)
All GIFs via GIPHY.