4 Health Hacks For Men’s Health Awareness Month
We get it, man.
You eat (mostly) right and, while you enjoy a good beer or three, you still hit the gym a few times a week. You see the doctor when you’re supposed to and counter work-related stress with the occasional hike. You’re a well-oiled machine, in perfect working order. You’re steel! You’re a rock, you’re—
—hiding a few more cracks than you’d care to admit. That’s common, especially in the United States, says the Movember Foundation, the leading charity devoted to men’s health. American men are often reticent to openly discuss their health and how they’re feeling, and are reluctant to act when they don’t feel physically or mentally well. These tendencies lead to some scary long-term health problems.
In honor of Men’s Health Awareness Month, we are empowering men everywhere to be active and willing participants in their physical and mental wellbeing. Below are four activities—more than one of which flies in the face of commonly held stereotypes—that can improve the way you look, perform, feel and cognitively function.
So, with an open mind and a commitment to our health, let’s get after it, gentlemen!
Go For BROGA
We could’ve suggested signing up for a HIIT or CrossFit class, reiterated the virtues of traditional strength training or encouraged you to set Ninja Warrior goals. Instead, we’re talking Broga.
Broga (“Brotherly Yoga”) is a hybrid exercise program designed to make yoga more accessible to “fitness-inclined men” who “can’t touch their toes,” but want the benefits that yoga provides, including improved flexibility, core strength, range of motion, balance and posture.
Broga weaves traditional yoga poses together with functional fitness and challenging cardio-based exercises. Movements forgo traditional yoga terminology in favor of anatomical naming conventions and are designed around repeating sets and reps.
Broga also preserves the same focus on breathing technique, stress-reduction, clarity and centeredness that is so central to traditional yoga practice.
Broga continues to grow and is offered across the world in classes, home workouts, workshops and retreats. If you can’t find an in-person class near you, check out some livestreamed classes—or encourage a local yoga instructor to become certified.
Namaste, fellas. Now, get to work!
Float Above Stress & Pain
Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, flotation therapy is a form of water stress relief treatment.
It may sound complicated, but it’s simple: You strip down to your birthday suit and lie down inside of a floatation pod. These pods resemble the craft Superman made the trip to Earth in as a baby. Use that as your visual—you are the Man of Steel, about to take a life-changing journey.
Flotation pods hold 10-12 inches of water that has been warmed to skin temperature and saturated with about 1000 pounds of pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts. It’s all enough to make a grown man, well…float.
As you float, your muscles and bones relax, your joints and spine decompress, and the strain on your circulatory system is reduced. Studies have shown that adrenaline and cortisol levels decrease while dopamine and endorphin levels rise, lowering stress and improving overall mood. Weightless in the dark, your brain gradually shifts into a deep meditative state.
Salt floats can help:
- Reduce fatigue, anxiety and stress
- Flush toxins from the body
- Alleviate back, neck, muscle and joint aches
- Aid recovery from addiction and PTSD
- Aid athletic recovery and performance visualization
- Reduce migraines
So, what does this fancy floating cost? Typically, between $55 – $70 for an hour, and you can float for longer than that if you want. The real question is, what are you waiting for?
Face It, Gents: It’s Time for a Facial
Hear us out: Men need facials just as much, if not more, than women do. Their higher testosterone levels increase oil production, which, combined with naturally thicker skin, higher collagen density and larger pores, causes pimples, blackheads and other painful forms of acne.
Male facials, sometimes called “macials” (clever, right?), address ingrown hairs, flaky skin, razor burn, sun and wind damage, and other man-centric skin care issues.
Getting a macial once a month can also help you achieve a smoother shave by eliminating the pain and scarring that comes with dragging that razor across pimples, ingrowns and other blemishes. For the fellas who love their scruff, beard facials cleanse and revitalize the oft neglected skin underneath all that majestic facial hair.
Facials are relaxing, refreshing and enable you to confidently show off that handsome mug of yours. It’s time to put your best face forward, guys.
Foot Care is Self-Care
This is not a plea for you to start prepping your piggies for next year’s sandal season. You can wear steel-toed boots to the beach, if you like. But whether you work in a high-rise office or you’re the one building them, your feet carry the rest of you around all day long. Neglecting them can yield painful and embarrassing results.
Ingrown toenails, corns, calluses, fungal infections and cracked heels are just the beginning. Illnesses such as gout, neuropathy and edema can also show up in your feet. Why put yourself through that? If the tires or brakes on your car were worn down, you’d address it, wouldn’t you?
A pedicure is a great place to start. Combining a pedi with a magnesium mineral hot soak and a reflexology massage will get you even more traction. Tack on an exfoliating milk and honey scrub, followed by a file, shape, buff & shine, and you’re road-ready.
Are there grooming spas out there that offer these treatments just for men? You bet there are. Traditional spas and salons also offer many of these services.
Still not convinced? Okay. The next time you’re alone with your partner, ask them for an open and honest critique of your feet.
Don’t come crying to us if you don’t like the answer you get—take that to the pedicure chair.
The truth is, pain hurts and stress kills. Pretending that neither exist doesn’t make you more of a man; it erodes your vitality, strength, mood and overall health. The suggestions above are no replacement for medical care and mental health treatment. Rather, they are effective methods of self-care that reduce stress, mitigate pain, increase self-confidence and improve your overall physical and mental health.
Even better, these services fit squarely inside your regular routine, between work and the gym, and alongside haircuts & deep-tissue massages. So, pencil in a few and start celebrating your health. You deserve it.
Vagaro is your app for finding beauty, fitness and wellness service providers in your area and booking some you time.