The other day at work I was chatting with a co-worker about the importance of the “man butt.” If this sounds a bit off, it is; but when you’re in an office with someone for 40 hours a week, the things you talk about are far from normal. After this highly intellectual conversation, I felt this topic deserved a little more attention. No, this entire article is not about having a nice bottom, but health in general. With summer in the air, the pressure to look good is on. No longer can we hide behind a locked door with only Netflix and pizza rolls for company. It is time to hit the beach and get social.
For the majority of us, guys and girls alike, having a nice back side takes some maintenance. For the 1 percent of the population who are inherently blessed with a perfect butt, congrats. As we get older, the need to exercise and eat healthy is real. The general attitude is that this applies more to girls than guys--wrong! Gentlemen, we do notice when you don’t take care of yourself. Only dads should have dad bods. Just because you’re a guy does not mean you can eat fast food whenever you please! Going to the gym is a start, but there are other important aspects of health and wellness to take into account.
The thought, “If I go to the gym, I am healthy,” resonates with many men. Although this is partially true, there is a general lack of knowledge among men on the “big picture” with regards to personal health. We do not completely blame you for this and here is why. From a young age, girls are trained that looks matter. As much as society denies it, women are constantly judged based on their outward appearance. It’s easier for a guy to leave his house looking like a bum, than it is for a girl to go out in public wearing sweatpants. We are drilled with the behaviors and practices we must follow in order to keep up a healthy appearance. From grazing on kale to becoming a “yogi,” wellness is now considered a trend among women. Now, I certainly do not condone the excessive amount of pressure this places on women, but recognizing these standards does help to explain the different perspectives on health between genders.
Other than lifting weights and hitting the treadmill, remember the other habits that keep us healthy:
1. Eat colorful food. Fruits and veggies are super important and the tomato sauce on that slice of pizza does not count. In reality, most of us probably do not eat as much as we should. Sometimes it is easy to forget to add them to your daily diet, especially with how busy we are. Not a fan? Throw them in a smoothie. Anything blended usually tastes good, as long as there are a variety of flavors.
2. Drink more water. Stay hydrated with 8 glasses a day! Drinking water energizes you and prevents midday food cravings.
3. Mind your face. In the summer this is essential. An oily, broken-out face is not attractive. Exfoliate, cleanse and moisturize. You will look 10 times better.
4. Increase your lean protein. Yes, we all enjoy a good steak, but eating lean meat like chicken and fish is an even better form of protein. Enjoying red meat in moderation is fine, but adding more white protein to your diet will benefit you in the long run.
5. Practice yoga. Or any other low-impact exercise. Not only are these types of exercise great for improving your core strength and flexibility, they also improve your mental well-being. Even if you practice once a week, it is a nice change of pace from your daily cardio routine. Yoga pants not required.
6. Try Tea. Trading coffee for tea is a great idea, even if it’s just a few days a week. Not only does tea have antioxidants and great health benefits, but it also contains caffeine. That is a win-win.
You have probably heard all of these before, but it is always good to be reminded of the small things that we can do to improve our everyday wellness. Gender is not an excuse to neglect certain aspects of our health. As we continue to get older, our bodies need more care and attention. It is too easy to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” If you keep saying it, and get too comfortable with the notion of holding off, “tomorrow” may never come. Commit to this now and I promise you will thank yourself in the future.