Men's Health: 10 Healthy Habits, Performance Boost

Could Your Performance Use a Boost?

10 Habits of Men Who Last All Day (and All Night)

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

Hey, guys, could your game use a little boost? Whether it's on the playing field, at the office, or in the bedroom, how well you perform depends on how you treat your body and what you're using to fuel it. With a few small changes in your diet and exercise routine, you can join the ranks of men who have the power to perform without petering out. Pump up your prowess with these 10 habits:

1. Supersize Your Muscles

Get off that couch and start lifting weights. Invest in a set of barbells or join a gym; your investment will pay you back in no time. Strength training yields quick results, and you will notice a difference in no time.

2. Burn Off the Beer Belly

Small changes add up to big weight loss that will help you see those toes forever.

3. Just Drink It

Are you getting your eight glasses per day? The easiest way to improve your physical performance is with adequate fluids in your diet. Your muscles need fluids to work properly; and in the heat and humidity of summer, it is easy to become dehydrated and fatigued. Beat the heat and energy zap by drinking before thirst sets in -- at least 64 ounces of mostly water every day.

4. Shoot for Nine a Day

That's right, guys, nine servings a day of fruits and/or vegetables is recommended by the National Cancer Institute and the Department of Health and Human Services. According to their research, men eat only one-third the amount of produce they need for good health. Fruits and veggies are chock full of disease-fighting antioxidants that can reduce the risk of many forms of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It's simple and easy to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet.

5. Can the Soda

Sugar has been called the devil's candy because it's so addictive. And we get an abundance of sugar from soft drinks, mixed alcoholic drinks, cakes, cookies, candies, and high-fructose corn syrup, which lurks in many processed foods. The sugar adds up quickly and provides little more than added calories, and there's little room in a pumped-up body for those sinister empty calories. The World Health Organization recommends people get less than 10% of calories from sugars. Can you live without it? Give it a try! Substitute a piece of fruit when you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Check here for even more strategies to tackle your snack attacks.

6. Fill Up on Fiber

Carbs have gotten a bad rap, and it's not fair because all carbs are not created equal. Good-for-you carbohydrates, such as whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, and 100% whole wheat bread, are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The key lies in the fiber content -- fiber fills you up so you eat less; it adds bulk to your diet, which helps normal elimination; and certain fibers reduce blood cholesterol levels. The simple, refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white pasta, and white rice, provide the same nutrients as whole grains but without the fiber. It is pretty simple; just choose whole grains to get your energy with the added benefits of fiber.

"Size does matter, guys. Americans are in the middle of an obesity crisis."

7. Measure It

Size does matter, guys. Americans are in the middle of an obesity crisis. Why? Because we're supersizing our food portions both at home and when we eat out. Portions are three to four times larger, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. So lose that "growing boys need to eat" excuse and let the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic show you how to normalize your portions and chisel that body into shape. Remember, less is more -- try pushing away from the table before you overeat.

8. Get Milk

The National Dairy Council indicates that men get less than half the requirement for calcium-rich dairy foods. That translates to weight gain and weak bones. Recent research suggests that low-fat dairy products are the new weapons in the battle of the bulge. The protein and calcium in dairy enhance weight loss. Jump on the healthy protein express by consuming three servings a day of skim or low-fat dairy foods. Got milk?

9. Eat Eggs

Get a lifetime of health benefits by eating eggs regularly. Thirty years of research have vindicated the egg and properly restored it to its proper position as a nutrition powerhouse. Eggs are inexpensive, contain high biological protein, are an eggcellent source of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and adapt to any meal. The best part, most guys know how to cook eggs.

10. Stop the Weight Creep

Beat it before it becomes permanently attached to your love handles. The National Institutes of Health tracked 195 men and women and found that annually we gain about one pound over the holidays and never lose the added weight. If you lose a few pounds during the warm and active season, you can counteract holiday weight gain and increase your chance of staying thin into old age, according to the researchers.

Put it all together, and you've got 10 simple habits that can help you last all day and through the night. Just do it!

Published June 6, 2003.

SOURCES: National Cancer Institute. Department of Health and Human Services. World Health Organization. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, January 2003. National Dairy Council.

©2003 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.



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