The start of the winter months isn’t all bad. It’s also the month in which we say thanks, dad for looking out for us. We want you to be healthy and happy, so here is the lowdown on exercise for men.
One of the main differences between men and women is muscle mass. On average, men have more muscle, making them physically stronger. The added muscle also allows them an advantage when it comes to weight loss: since more muscles = faster fat-burn. But don’t get too comfortable yet. Men lose weight faster at first, but the playing field between the genders evens out after a couple of months. Consistency is key.
Strength training has many benefits and, contrary to popular belief, isn’t only reserved for body-builders. It makes you strong, strengthens bone density, helps you to lose weight and improves your heart health. It also makes you look good and feel even better, physically and mentally.
It’s very important to do strength training exercises correctly to avoid getting injured. Use your own body weight to either do a squat, some push-ups or a plank. You can also use dumbbells or kettlebells to add more weight.
Strengthen your bones
A problem that both genders could suffer from in their later years is osteoporosis. If you want to avoid crumbling bones in the second half of life, include weight-bearing exercises like running and weight-lifting in your twenties and thirties.
In combination with a healthy diet, weight-bearing exercises help strengthen your bones, decreasing your risk for osteoporosis and fractures later on in life.
Bone strength is also associated with muscle strength and resistance training, more so than cardiovascular training.
Flexibility and mobility
Flexibility is the length of the muscle and its ability to stretch. Not only does being flexible help you move freely, but it also improves your posture and balance. Mobility, on the other hand, is the ability of the joint to move. When you’re mobile, you’re able to move within a wider range and your risk of injury is significantly lowered.
Each joint and group of muscles in your body is likely to have different ranges of motion and different levels of flexibility. Sadly, not all of us are naturally flexible or we’ve become somewhat immobile due to our sedentary lifestyles.
Exercises like yoga are great for improving mobility and flexibility. Stretching your arms, back, neck and hip flexors also improve your flexibility.
HIIT your fitness goals
A great way to become fitter and faster is through high-intensity interval training or HIIT.
HIIT is short bursts of high-intensity sessions or intervals. During this short interval, you push yourself to about 80 to 95% of your maximum heart rate and then rest for a bit, either by resting completely or with active rest. In other words, you go all out during the exercise and then rest.
Studies have shown that this type of training builds your endurance, increases your metabolism, regulates your insulin levels and helps you lose body fat. And afterwards, you’ll feel great.
It’s not just the what, but also the how
There are many wrong ways to do exercises. If your form is off, your risk of injury increases. Before you add extra weight to that machine or try to run faster on that next run, make sure you’re doing it right. Never sacrifice form for figures. Doing the same exercise 20 times without the proper technique is never as good as doing it once, correctly.
Here are some tips:
- Consult the experts. If you have an existing back problem, the exercises that you do will need to be tailored to suit your specific needs.
- Never go too high too soon with weight lifting. Rather keep the weights low, and make sure your form is correct before adding more on. You won’t impress anyone if you rupture a disk in your back.
- When in doubt, ask. It is always better to make sure you’re doing the exercise correctly.
- Listen to your body. If your body feels tight, is strained or in pain, pay attention to it. Just because you did a certain exercise one day, doesn’t mean your body can do it the next day – your body is constantly changing, so learn to respect your limitations, and grow gradually.