As heart disease continues to top the list of illnesses related to death, men must continue to strive for reasonable levels of fitness. Many are working well beyond the retirement years of yesterday as the cost of living continues to rise.
A recent health trend has seen a significant increase in ads related to male menopause and testosterone supplementation. Testosterone is the critical male hormone responsible for vigor and everything male. However, vitality may be more akin to lifestyle than anything. Diet, exercise and discipline are the triplets of health that allow many men to forgo risks associated with hormone replacement therapy.
Fortunately, this triple threat does not have to be the challenge that it is often perceived. Every goal must start with a plan. Imagine trying to build a home without blueprints. Well, fitness is no different. You must regularly document meals and fitness routines until you’ve reached your goal. While structured diets are the kiss of death for many, documenting meals allows you to see the food quality you are placing into your body and gives you the knowledge to make better choices.
Documented workout routines allow you to see the regularity and progression of your training regiment. As you embark on your journey to better fitness, it is important to find equipment and exercises that you enjoy. If you hate all exercise, choose the routine that you hate the least. Enjoyment is vital to long term success. Also, remember that your body is comprised of more than your chest. Therefore, endless pushups or bench presses at the neglect of other exercises will quickly leave you unbalanced. If you are one who prefers to train at home, there are a number of inexpensive, home gym systems that will provide you an overall workout and satisfactory results if done consistently. If you prefer the gym, a few sessions with a private trainer will quickly get you on the right path.
Know your limitations. As we age, our bodies deteriorate. There are some exercises that may exacerbate joint pain. Find a pain free alternative. The long term consequence is not worth the risk. A standard pushup may prove too difficult or cause shoulder pain. However, if the upper body is raised; more body weight is directed toward the lower extremities making the movement easier and less painful.
It is also important to set realistic goals. Fitness is a lifetime proposition and should be approached from this perspective. If you are like most people, you struggle with adherence. Setting small, achievable goals will greatly improve your discipline and chances of long term success. Your initial routines should be brief and fairly easy. As you develop the habit, you can increase time and intensity. This also reduces the likelihood of exercise plateaus or months when results seem to stall.
Flexibility is a functional aspect of exercise that is often overlooked. A flexible muscle is a well-conditioned muscle. Incorporate stretching into your regular exercise routine. The Internet provides an endless supply of tips, exercises and benefits of stretching. There are several ways to implement it into your program. Working through a full ranges of motion will enhance flexibility. Yoga and Pilates will also increase flexibility and function by utilizing your body weight or external resistance appropriate to your strength. These modalities are a great way to break the monotony of standard resistance training as they reduce stress and improve blood flow.
Many men will attest that a well-executed exercise routine has benefits beyond health and aesthetics. Learned disciplines continue to prove beneficial for men who desire personal as well as professional success. Train smart.