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 six of his healthy habits that are worth adding to your health arsenal.
Good Habit #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.
Adopt His Healthy Habit: In the morning, swap your usual bowl of cornflakes for an egg-and-cheese sandwich (try this super-satisfying egg sandwich recipe) 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.
Good Habit #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.
Adopt His Healthy Habit: "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.
Good Habit #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.
Adopt His Healthy Habits: 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.
Good Habit #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.
Adopt His Healthy Habits: Rally your friends to form a team, or find a league near you by contacting your local YMCA or community recreation center.
Good Habit #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.
Adopt His Healthy Habits: 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.
Good Habit #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."
Adopt His Healthy Habits: 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."
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