We happen to be smack dab in the middle of Men’s Health Week, and so we thought it’d be the perfect time to talk about exercise for men. Have you noticed that, for whatever reason, a lot of guys tend to depend on the “fitness carryover” effect? You know what we’re talking about – you were a pretty hot deal in high school between football, basketball, track, and overall awesomeness. And these days, since you’re a little busier with a job, perhaps a serious relationship, maybe pets or kids, and grown-up stuff to occupy your time, regular exercise can easily take a back seat. That’s no problem though, right? You get a lifetime unlimited free passes to bail on a jog or lifting weights because you were such a stud in high school?
Not so fast, Captain Fantastic. As far as your health goes, your past athletic antics are nearly useless. Sure, you may have learned to appreciate exercise and strength-building, but you’ve got to put in the time and effort on a regular basis. Starting today. Here’s why:
- Vanity, plain and simple. If the middle age spread phenomenon has you at all concerned, then regular exercise is your best friend. Exercise can help keep your belly from creeping out past your waistline, and can help keep your entire body toned. National Weight Control Registry found that men who upped their exercise quotient enough to burn an additional 3298 calories per week with activities like running, cycling, or aerobics, each lost an average of more than 10% of their body weight.
- Love you some bacon? It’s just a fact – most men as they age will eventually see elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL: appropriately dubbed “bad” cholesterol), and lowered levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL: dubbed, you guessed it, “good” cholesterol). This can lead to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for US males. Exercise is one of the best ways to raise your HDL cholesterol, and help keep heart disease at bay.
- Exercise makes a difference above the neck . . . Did you know that those who perform moderate to strenuous exercise are at a significantly lower risk for developing Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease?
- . . . . and below the belt, too. Exercise can help keep ALL of your most important parts working the way they should, in the bedroom and all. Enough said.
- Stress sucks. Whether it’s your job, your family, your friends, or other matters causing you a little anxiety, you’re likely suffering a few of the ill effects of stress, including trouble sleeping, irritability, bowel upset, or even higher blood pressure. Exercise happens to do a dynamite job of actually helping to lower stress, anxiety, and depression, thanks in part to the feel-good hormones it helps release, while helping you to sleep better and enjoy a lower blood pressure, too.
Men’s Health Week is a great opportunity to check in with yourself to make sure you’re living the best and healthiest life possible. And, okay, if you have to pull on your high school letter jacket every once in a while to reminisce, so be it. But we’ll just keep that between us.