Men are under increasing pressure to improve their physical fitness and appearance. Media images of “six-pack” as and toned biceps as well as news reports of the obesity epidemics have influenced many men to begin fitness routines. Exercise can have a positive effect on how you look and how you feel, make you more attractive, increasing your body confidence and giving you more energy. If you make the time to exercise, make sure you do it right.
Broaden your Shoulders
Broad, strong shoulders are visible even when you are fully clothed, and they often are a part of your body that people notice first. Focus on the medial- or side-head of the shoulders, and perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of dumbbell side lateral raises twice a week in addition to your normal workout routine. Use a weight level that is challenging, and rest 60 seconds between sets.
Work Your Legs
Many men are guilty of neglecting leg exercises. Although your legs might not be on display often, to make your physique look balanced, you must develop your legs in proportion with your upper body. Exercises such as squats, lunges and deadlifts work the legs effectively and should be part of your regular workout routine. These exercises also can improve your performance in sports.
Do Plenty of Cardio
Better-toned muscles look and function better than untrained ones, but your health is more closely linked to your cardiovascular fitness. Doing 20 minutes of cardio three times a week at 60 percent to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate will lower your risk of suffering coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity and strokes, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
The modern diet is very calorie-dense but is becoming less nutritious as the reliance on convenience foods increases. Your body needs regular doses of vitamins and minerals, and these are best obtained from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Consuming adequate vitamins and minerals can help maintain good health. Your body is unable to produce these vital nutrients, so they must be consumed regularly. Zinc and selenium are especially important for men and can reduce the likelihood of andropause and prostate cancer. Flax and other essential fatty acids also are are anti-inflammatory and can improve cardiovascular health, lowering the risk of coronary heart disease.
Men tend to be less flexible than women. Women have a greater amount of the hormone relaxin, which allows their bodies to stretch and adapt to a growing fetus during pregnancy. Many women also took part in gymnastics and dance when they were childrenm which developed flexibility from an early age, whereas men were more likely to be playing football or baseball. Being flexible will benefit your physique by making your posture more upright. Flexible muscles are less prone to injury, so make sure you stretch after every workout to ensure that your muscles remain flexible–or consider joining the growing number of men who participate in yoga classes.
About this Author
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. Also a lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a major contributor for Ultra-FIT magazine and has been involved in fitness for 22 years. Other than a five-year service in the Royal Marines, Dale has always worked in health and fitness and never intends leaving.