A Guy’s Guide to Lowering Stress

guys stress

Sometimes eating well and exercising often aren’t enough—guys, consider these ways to lower your stress and get more organized.

Already full of good eating and exercise intentions this year? Think about adding a few more items to your plan. Consider going beyond the notion of more is better as it relates to exercise, and instead focus on the quality and type of exercise. Work may be your home away from home, so endeavor to stay organized at the office. Take time out for some important tests that could save your life and snuff out those stressors before they get the best of you.

GET FITT & BEAT STRESS

The FITT principle is an integration of four components of exercise: frequency, intensity, timing and type. Instead of lengthy cardio sessions, try brief, high-intensity exercises that will let you burn fat without depleting muscle, and will keep your testosterone production from running on empty. Remember, don’t exile yourself to isolation—try targeting more than one muscle at a time. Chest flies and leg extensions are good, but you should include basic moves like bench presses and squats. Basic moves allow several muscle groups to work in tandem, providing more stress on your body and an increase in the production of growth hormone and testosterone.

GIVE STRESS THE SLIP & DIVERSIFY YOUR ROUTINE

Give the weights a rest and shake up your chakras by taking a yoga class. You could burn between 250 and 500 calories in a typical class session. Although some stressful situations in life cause us to get heated, feel free to revel in that heat by enrolling in a hot yoga class, held in a room with temperatures soaring to 105 degrees.

FUEL UP

You may want to banish your extra belly fat this year, but starvation is not the way to do it. Cutting too many calories tricks the body into thinking it is in starvation mode, and it will compensate by slowing down your metabolism. Instead, choose three sensible meals and add in two to three snacks throughout the day.

…AND DRINK UP, TOO

Dehydration can also fool your body into feeling hungry. Muscles are up to 75 percent water, yet most guys don’t drink enough. Drinking water allows you to feel more satiated and may cause you to eat less, which is why you should drink up before your meal. Divide your body weight in half—that is how many ounces of water you should consume each day.

THINK LOCATION

Create a designated eating area such as the dining room or kitchen—not in front of the television or the computer. These tend to be the areas where mindless snacking occurs. Noshing in a neutral area leaves you less likely to reach for that second helping.

CLEAR THE CLUTTER

Organization at the office will allow you to function much better and be even more productive, something that will be duly noted by the boss at your yearly performance evaluation. If you have any doubts about the wonders of clearing away the clutter, just watch an episode of the television show Hoarders and you will see the upside to throwing out all that extra stuff. And while you’re in cleaning mode, tackle the garage and proverbial junk drawer.

CHECK YOURSELF

No need to get testy when you think in terms of prevention. Testicular self-exams and prostate exams should be on every man’s radar, no matter his age. Men who are 50 and older should consult their physician about annual screenings for prostate-specific antigen and the digital rectal exam. African-American men and others at high risk should begin testing at age 45; white men are at a higher risk for testicular cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that young men between 15 and 35 perform testicular self-exams, as well as get checked during a complete physical.

GET A GRIP ON STRESS

There is good stress (eustress), which can be curative, and the all-too-familiar negative variety, which we generally refer to as distress. How we channel our stress may aid us in buffering a stressful situation. For example, have you considered progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) or visualization? Stress creates tension in our muscles, which is why PMR is so helpful. By tensing up the muscles and gradually releasing that tension from head to toe, we engage in “unlearning” stress-related behaviors. Although you may not be able to jet off to a picturesque place each time you feel stressed, you can purchase a nature sounds CD and practice stress-relieving visualization.

So, go ahead and be resolute, I dare you!

 

Updated: published originally in the Health Journal 1-1-2013

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