Achieving physical fitness is a worthwhile goal all men should pursue. Men, who work out regularly, are more likely to have better heart health thanks to lower cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood pressure readings than men who rarely do. In addition, regular exercise will likely lead to other important quality of life benefits that include:
- Lowering risk of type 2 diabetes and erectile dysfunction
- Helping reduce inflammation
- Helping men feel more energized with less depression and anxiety
- Better bone health
- Living a longer life in good health
But, some men may believe they already have and are already doing everything they can to reach their pinnacle of good health. And that may be true. But other men may be unaware of certain fitness tips that can put them over the top in achieving great health.
Here are five fitness tips experts recommend for helping men reach their fitness goals:
- Always include flexibility moves
Let’s face it, men: Physically, you’re not as flexible as women. Sure, you can lift, throw, and run faster than most women, but flexibility often lags when compared to the opposite gender. Yet, don’t believe that flexibility doesn’t matter. It does, and here’s why: Flexibility or range of motion allows men to use the full potential of their muscle mass, which can stimulate muscle growth. Good flexibility reduces stress on tight muscles, improves posture, helps prevent injuries, and leaves men feeling physically and mentally better and more balanced.
The hamstrings, shoulders, and lower back are typical inflexible areas often seen in men. Joining a yoga or Pilates class are perfect for improving flexibility and a good start for men to achieve a better range of motion.
2. Surprise your body by doing something new
You use your treadmill for 30 minutes each morning and repeat the next day. Or maybe you lift weights twice a week and walk 3 miles three days a week and repeat. While these exercise efforts are admirable, maybe it’s time to mix things. Do something different, surprising your body. Explore new ways to break the monotony or boredom of your set routine. Trying new exercises will work different parts of your body for improving flexibility, core strength, and balance. Consider taking boxing lessons, bicycling, swimming laps, or playing tennis or pickleball. Anytime you do something new, your body will respond pleasantly surprised.
3. Give your body time to rest
Taking a break may seem unmanly, yet that’s what your body needs when doing back-to-back sessions. Rest and recovery are important, and athletes understand this. Giving your body a break allows it to repair and strengthen in-between workouts. Anyone who works out vigorously requires recovery both physically and psychologically.
Part of rest and recovery means obtaining adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), changes in hormone levels, and a reduction in human growth hormone necessary for tissue repair. Therefore, men should follow a consistent, regular bedtime schedule and refrain from taking electronics to the bedroom disrupting sleep.
4. Faster is not always better when lifting weights
When lifting weights, the question of whether to lift with fast repetitions or to use a slow and steady approach, is debatable. However, it boils down to combining both in your routine to achieve the best results, as long as your form is correct. If you fitness goal is to increase strength and muscle power, faster repetitions are best. But if your focus is on building muscle quickly, slower repetitions are the way to go. A combination of both is ideal for helping maximize your muscle growth.
5. Use a healthy approach to fitness
Physical fitness does not solely depend on exercise. Of course, exercise is an important component in reaching fitness goals, but other important factors also play a role. Two such factors are what you eat and how well you hydrate.
The food you eat directly impacts energy levels and the efficiency of muscles when working out. A diet favoring a fast food frequency and ultra-processed foods pattern will not supply the right nutrients to maintain energy levels and minimize fat storage. Instead of grabbing a frozen ready, processed meal or choosing pizza every night, prepare meals in advance to avoid takeout or relying on fast foods. Focus on fruits, vegetables, salads, lean meat and poultry, fatty fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to provide essential nutrients enhancing overall fitness.
Hydration is another vital necessity supporting physical fitness. The human body is composed of about 60% water, important for carrying nutrients around the body, participating in chemical reactions, cleanses the tissues and blood of wastes, and maintaining the body’s temperature. Insufficient water intake can lead to dehydration, headaches, constipation, dry mouth, and worse if it escalates.
When working out, be mindful of adequate hydration. Sweating while exercising increases water needs, especially during hot weather. In this situation, people can lose 2 to 4 gallons of fluid in a day in this situation. Therefore, the best fluid choice is water for most people. Still, athletes working out for more than 90 minutes should opt for a sports drink providing water but also electrolytes of sodium, potassium, and magnesium. The percent daily value for total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts Label of a sports drink should be 5% to 7%. A higher percentage indicates it has too much sugar, interfering with digestion and proper hydration.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.