The holiday season is just about over, and for many people, it's about time to start making a new list of New Year's resolutions.
Men, for instance, often use the beginning of the year to reevaluate their previous lifestyle and commit themselves to getting their health back on the right track either by eating healthier, losing weight or quitting smoking.
If you're one of the gentlemen out there who's looking to live happier and healthier this coming new year, then read on to learn a few tricks on how to jumpstart your way to achieving your goal.
1. Get Fit And Lose Weight
When it comes to getting fit, men focus on losing weight around their stomach area and achieve more muscular definition in their chest, biceps and abdominals, according to exercise physiologist Dr. Cedric Bryant of the American Council on Exercise
Bryant explained that many of these men tend to engage more in resistance training than in cardiovascular exercise, which is not an ideal strategy to help them achieve their goal.
"Men need to participate in a balanced exercise program where they are involved in strength training that is for all the major muscle groups," Bryant said. "They need to participate in some aerobic exercise, because that's going to help them to expend energy and burn calories."
Bryant added that good nutrition is also a key part in achieving success in fitness.
2. Stay In Touch With Family And Friends
Building strong social ties with your family and friends may not be one of the first things you would think of when it comes to improving your health, but people who keep in touch with loved ones tend to have longer lives compared to those who do not.
A study featured in the journal PLoS Medicine suggests that a lack of social ties with other people can damage a person's health as much as smoking or alcohol abuse. It is also more detrimental than being obese or not exercising enough.
Improve your chances of living longer by catching up with family or friends online. Or better yet, you can try dropping by their home for an in-person visit.
3. Be Mindful Of What You Eat
Some men associate eating large portions of red meat and potatoes with masculine behavior. As Dr. Jean Bonhomme of Men's Health Network puts it, this could be linked to the idea that men are supposed to be hunters that bring home the elk and the deer.
While it is alright to enjoy a piece of juicy steak once in a while, engaging in an overindulgence of red meat can cause serious health problems.
Nutrition expert Bonnie Taub-Dix of the American Dietetic Association says following low-carb diets, such as those that promote consuming more protein and fat, is not ideal even for men.
Low-carb diets may be able to help people reduce their weight but only for a short while. Research shows that after a year, those who lost weight through low-carb diets did not experience any weight reduction more than those who followed a standard low-calorie diet.
Researchers are still trying to look into the long-term effects of low-carb diets, but critics of the practice believe these diets could result in adverse effects on the heart. This is because of the high amounts of fatty foods involved in low-carb diets that could increase dieters' risk of developing heart disease.
Those who follow low-carb diets are also limited in their intake of foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which have been identified to help lower heart disease risk and prevent cancer development.
Taub-Dix recommends following a well-balanced diet that emphasizes on the intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
4. Quit Smoking
It's not easy to quit a habit that you've had for a long time such as smoking. Some people even have to try for a number of times or rely on nicotine replacement therapy before they become successful in their goal.
To help you detach yourself from the idea of needing to smoke, you can also focus on the financial benefits of not having to buy cigarettes all the time. This is another practical incentive to quit smoking aside from the potential health benefits it would provide you.
"It's one of the harder habits to quit," Dr. Merle Myerson of St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals, said. "But I always tell people to think of how much money they will save."
5. Go See The Doctor More Often
Men are notorious for refusing to go to the doctor even when they need to. In fact, gents make 130 million fewer medical visits compared to women, according to Armin Brott, author of "Father for Life."
Brott pointed out that men often think of themselves as indestructible and disregard any pain they might be feeling, especially when they are younger. He said this could be connected to the idea that boys are not supposed to cry and that they should be tough.
"We're supposed to be taking care of our families, and we just don't have time to take care of ourselves," Brott said.
Men only choose to go see the doctor when they are urged by their wives, but by the time they do go in for a medical checkup, chances are their condition could already have progressed to more serious stages.
Brott suggests that men should go visit the doctor when they feel there is something not right with their health.