Lifestyle

The Five Rules Every Healthy Man Should Follow

by Mike McAvennie7/13/2021

Kettlebell

We get it: You don’t want to be told what to do. Just hear us out…


Men don’t like being told what to do. Upon an issued directive, we bristle. We scoff. We whine. We believe we inherently know better, particularly when it comes to our bodies. How can someone else have a better thought than what we’ve known to be true about ourselves for our entire lives?

Alas, we do not know everything, and outside perspective — however initially off-putting — is necessary. This is especially apt as we age and truths we’ve believed to be universal and perennial, in fact, are not. We won’t always be able to keep building muscle. Our sexual drive won’t always be as voracious. Our hormone levels will dip and fall.

Things change, but we can stay ahead of it, with a little help.

The good news? Help is easier to achieve than ever, especially with the rise of telemedicine and platforms like Hone. Unsure where to start on your journey back to your old self? What follows are our five rules for men. Don’t think of it as being told what to do; instead, think of this as guidelines for achieving results based on your efforts.

1. Go See a Doctor

Yes, we can hear some of you out there: “Go to the doctor? Seriously?”

Seeing a physician is absolutely, positively necessary. Why? Several studies reveal that men are about a quarter as likely as women to visit a physician over the next 12 months, and up to three times less likely than women[1] over a five-year period. A 2019 national survey by the Cleveland Clinic revealed that 72 percent of men would opt for doing household chores over going to a doctor. Men’s reasons varied — they either felt embarrassed to go or like less of a man, or they suspected they may have a health issue but chose to avoid confronting it.

If you ever find yourself debating whether you should go to a doctor when you don’t feel well or make sure all of the plates are in the dishwasher, then get your priorities in order. Clean plates mean nothing if you’re no longer around to eat off them.

Also consider the fact that we now live in the age of telehealth. There are exceptions, but much of what ails you can be diagnosed, discussed and treated online by a doctor. Your video session is private and you never have to leave your home. (Check out our “How it Works” page for a breakdown of the process, or order an at-home hormone assessment that also includes a virtual consultation with a Hone-affiliated physician.) There’s no excuse now.

2. Add an Extra Hour of Sleep

Alarm clock

The power of sleep is extraordinary. Yet we all take it for granted. It’s one of the first things we sacrifice for a myriad of seemingly acceptable excuses: There’s extra work to do around the house. You want to deal with bills. There’s a UFC fight that’ll have you up drinking until 3am. You know your own rationalization process. And you know it’s not great, but you also don’t change anything.

The point is that seven to 10 hours of sleep a night is extremely beneficial. It helps keep your body strong, your mind sharp and your emotions in check. If you think you function well enough on five hours of sleep, then you’re not thinking straight, which is a side effect of sleep deprivation. As is high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. Studies also show males’ testosterone levels drop as much as 15 percent[2] when they’re not getting enough rest. 

If your T-levels are down and you’re not sleeping enough, you’re not just burning the candle at both ends. You’re also making it more difficult for your partner and you to kindle some romance.

In short, make a goal of adding at least one extra hour of slumber.

3. Try High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT

“Exercise more” is always a popular rule people attempt to fulfill. It’s also pretty generic and can leave you with more questions than answers. Do you have a goal in mind for what you want to achieve? By when do you want to achieve your desired results, and what types of exercise do you think will help you do that?

In terms of choosing a form of exercise, it really depends on what you want to accomplish and by when you want to accomplish it. We recommend High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT workouts. These short-but-intense workouts are great for losing weight, increasing endurance, adding muscle mass and reducing fat. For men specifically, HIIT is also a very effective means of naturally boosting testosterone.[3]

HIIT is intense and challenging. But the health benefits are fantastic and, when it’s done right, it doesn’t eat up hours inside a gym. A reminder, though: Before you begin any type of physical exercise, have your health provider run a thorough checkup first. Beginning a workout regimen only to discover it’s putting too much strain on your body is not only a health risk, but it will likely derail you from seeing your goal through.

4. Eat Healthier

Say you want to lose weight. That’s great. To get there, strategizing before executing on a weight loss plan is critical. Exercising more is a wonderful start to meeting this one. Another way is to change up your nutritional intake. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but it is attainable.

With some guidance from a physician or nutritionist, outline the amounts of protein, carbs, healthy fats and calories you intend to consume daily. Map out a chart of meals you can prepare in advance for the week and eat at home more often. Don’t think that makes much of a difference? One study shows that men having home-cooked meals five nights a week were 28 percent less likely[4] to have an overweight body mass index.

In addition to scheduling an end date to achieve your targeted weight loss, build in specific dates to lose the excess poundage in smaller increments. You may not hit those exact dates, but that’s all right. Those dates exist to help you focus, and any progress is still progress. Success will come, and you’ll feel all the better for it. So will your waistline, your energy levels, your testosterone and your overall health.

A final piece of advice to chew on: Instead of using the word “diet,” go with something like “lifestyle change.” “Diet” gives off a negative connotation that your plan is finite, whereas a lifestyle change can be permanent.

5. Reduce Your Stress

A study conducted by the American Institute of Stress[5] showed that 77 percent of its participants expressed they suffered from stress that impacted their physical health. Mental health didn’t fare much better at 73 percent, while 48 percent verified that they had trouble sleeping due to stress.

No one needs that kind of stress, but how do we get rid of it? Can we, or do we just teach ourselves to deal with it? That distinction is very important; it helps clarify whether your goal is to eliminate or manage the anxiety in your life. Many of us wish for the former, but most of us can actually do something about the latter.

Exercising, resting more and losing weight are all excellent ways to reduce stress. So is making a to-do list of your priorities; if your thoughts are organized, you feel more capable of coping with the things that previously seemed insurmountable.

Then there’s trying something new, such as yoga or breathing exercises, or taking up a hobby. Even the simple act of scheduling daily time for yourself so you can do something you like and that relaxes you — reading, going for a walk, etc. Any or all of these things may seem stressful to complete at first — you’ll need to fight that mentality of deprioritizing things that are designed to benefit you — but in the long run, your health will thank you for it.


References:

[1] Mahalik JR, Backus Dagirmanjian FR. Working Men's Constructions of Visiting the Doctor. Am J Mens Health. 2018 Sep;12(5):1582-1592. doi: 10.1177/1557988318777351. Epub 2018 May 23. PMID: 29790408; PMCID: PMC6142142.

[2] Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men. JAMA. 2011 Jun 1;305(21):2173-4. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.710. PMID: 21632481; PMCID: PMC4445839.

[3] Timón Andrada R, Maynar Mariño M, Muñoz Marín D, Olcina Camacho GJ, Caballero MJ, Maynar Mariño JI. Variations in urine excretion of steroid hormones after an acute session and after a 4-week programme of strength training. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2007 Jan;99(1):65-71. doi: 10.1007/s00421-006-0319-1. Epub 2006 Oct 19. PMID: 17051372.

[4] Mills S, Brown H, Wrieden W, White M, Adams J. Frequency of eating home cooked meals and potential benefits for diet and health: cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017 Aug 17;14(1):109. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0567-y. PMID: 28818089; PMCID: PMC5561571.

[5] Stress Facts and Statistics. Eric Patterson, LLC. Reviewed by Nanci Stockwell, LCSW, MBA. Updated Nov. 2020.

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