Saturday August 9 2014

Health habits we can borrow from men


To help give your health and fitness a boost, check out these top health lessons we can learn from men.

Get into sport
Statistics show that men are more likely to participate in group sports than women, which means that women could be missing out.

Sports such as football and hockey are great for improving heart health and building bones, with research published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports showing that regularly playing football can increase bone mass and density as well as improving postural balance and muscle strength.

Not only that, the competitive nature of team sports is great for boosting motivation, while being part of a team can help build social bonds.

Ditch the faddy diets
With women’s magazines packed with weight loss plans and an estimated 70 per cent of women having been on a diet in the last 10 years (compared to just 30 per cent of men), faddy eating has become a way of life for many women.

Unfortunately, rather than helping you stay trim, dieting can mess up the metabolism – causing your body to gain weight more easily – and lead to nutrient deficiency.

Rather than obsessively counting calories and ignoring your hunger, try seeing food as fuel (rather than the enemy) and adopting healthier male eating habits of regular, substantial meals.

Lose the excess baggage
While women are prone to leaving the house with an entire bag full of gadgets and accessories weighing them down, men are generally content with a wallet and bunch of keys shoved in their pockets.

Although few women would be happy to completely follow suit in this one, by slightly cutting down on your handbag contents, you could drastically reduce your risk of serious back problems and neck pain.

Make like your man and ditch all non-essential items before you leave the house and you could be doing your health a big favour.

Stop dwelling on problems
As a rule, women tend to be more led by their emotions than men and therefore react in a more emotional way when things go wrong or hurdles present themselves in life.

Women are far more likely to want to go over their problems with friends, over-analyse situations and dwell on things.

However, obsessing over a problem rarely makes it go away and instead too much dwelling can simply lead to anxiety, stress disorders and depression. Next time you are tempted to dwell, think like a man and engage your analytical side to try to find a practical solution to your problem instead.

Workout with weights
Many women shun the weights at the gym due to the fear they will bulk up. However, unless you lift weights excessively, it is very unlikely this will be the case as women do not have the testosterone levels to build big muscles like men. However, what weight lifting will do is give your health a boost.

Whether or not you desire toned arms, lifting weights has many other health benefits, including the ability to reduce risk of osteoporosis.

On top of this, lifting weights can help with weight loss as the more muscle your body has the more calories you burn, whether you are exercising or not.

Dress for comfort
From skyscraper heels to skin tight jeans, women are renowned for their restrictive fashion choices. However, this could be bad news for your health.

Wearing restrictive clothing such as tight jeans, corset tops and tummy-control underwear has been found to be responsible for a host of health problems such as nerve problems, yeast infections, heart burn and abdominal pain, while wearing high heels can lead to poor posture, arthritis, hammer toes and back pain. Look after your health by taking a leaf out of your man’s style book and dressing for comfort every once in a while.

What you eat before a work-out counts

Are you wondering what foods to eat before a workout? We have some pre-workout meal and snack ideas to ensure you fuel your exercise correctly by eating the right kind of workout foods including important carbohydrates and fats.

The two fuels that the body uses during exercise are carbohydrate and fat; during high and moderate intensity exercise more carbohydrate is used.

The body stores carbohydrate in small amounts in the liver and muscles, as glycogen; it is therefore important to make sure that the glycogen stores of the liver and muscles are optimal before exercise as they are depleted during training.

The carbohydrate in your diet will provide some energy during exercise mainly from starchy snacks and sugary drinks that you take immediately before and during exercise.

The best advice regarding workout foods is to eat a meal three to four hours before exercise and have a small snack just before, ideally between one and two hours before your workout. So, if you plan to go to the gym at 5.30pm, try to have a meal (lunch) at 1.30pm and then a snack at 4pm.

Porridge is a great pre-workout meal, especially three to four hours before exercise.

Compliment this with a banana and you are good to go.
For the meat lovers, have some lean meat like chicken with rice and vegetables. This will take care of your protein and carbohydrate needs.

For your snacking needs, one to two hours before exercise, have fruit yoghurt or a small bowl of cereal or a piece of fruit if it is later in the day. Not only should you think about your food intake before exercise, but you also need to consider the fluid that you drink.

Don’t turn up at the gym or go for a run dehydrated, you should be fully hydrated prior to taking any exercise.

Dehydration is easy to detect, when you pass water make sure that it is as clear as possible. The darker the color of your urine, the more dehydrated you are.

Also, the frequency with which you pass urine can indicate whether you are drinking enough, if you only pass water once or twice a day it’s time to consider drinking more fluid. in partnership with Saturday Monitor