Skip to content

For Men, 10 Steps to Better Health

How a cold beer, Indian food and friendship can do wonders

10 Best Ways to be a Healthier Man, Nuts and Beer

Istock; Nick Ferrari

Nuts and beer can have healthy benefits for men.

En español |1. Buy memories

Boys love toys, but doing stuff is better than buying stuff. According to research by Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School professor, money spent on experiences such as family vacations and dinners with friends brings more lasting joy than money spent on material things such as cars. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said so. Bonus: Reminiscing about the experience afterward achieves nearly the same level of happiness as the original event.

2. Squirrel away nuts

After age 50, a man's metabolism slows noticeably. To avoid a future of relaxed-fit Dockers, you need to eat less. But that's hard. Here's a weight-loss trick that'll help you consume less while boosting overall health: Fill an empty mint tin with whole almonds and slip it into your suit pocket or briefcase. When hunger strikes, eat a handful. Almonds are low calorie (22 nuts have 169 calories) and satisfying, and leave you feeling full.

3. Find a purpose

Men, more than women, define themselves by their careers. At retirement, they can lose self-worth, which can lead to depression, excessive drinking and other health problems. Studies show that having a higher purpose in life significantly reduces the risk of death among older adults and can even slow or prevent cognitive decline. Are you at risk? Do you agree or disagree with these three statements?

4. Get a grip

Having a firm handshake is a sign of vitality and long life. One study found that weak grip strength puts you at higher risk for heart attack, stroke and death. But it's not just grip strength that's important: It's overall strength, so commit to a total-body strength-training plan.

5. Stamp out erection issues

Worry over impotency can cause … impotency. Here's a test to see if problems are physical or psychological. Wrap a length of postage stamps around the base of your penis. Secure the ends together and go to sleep. Repeat for three consecutive nights. If the stamps are torn along a perforation the next morning, you're still having good nocturnal erections, which means any get-it-up difficulties you're experiencing are probably due to emotional stress.

6. Get your lucky 7

A lot of men consider sleep the enemy of ambition. New research, however, suggests they may be trading long-term brain function for short-term success. Research shows that the less people sleep, the faster their brains age. How much shut-eye do you need to stay healthy? One online brain-training company notes that those who sleep seven hours a night have the best scores on its cognitive tests.

7. Build muscle

Between ages 50 and 70, sedentary people lose 30 percent of their muscle strength—the equivalent of 0.4 pounds of muscle per year. That can leave you frail and unable to do simple things such as climbing stairs easily. You can counter this decline by strength training for just 30 minutes, two or more days a week. After only 18 to 20 weeks of training, older adults can expect to add about two pounds of muscle and to increase strength by 25 to 30 percent, according to the American Journal of Medicine.

8. Follow the buddy system

Men, especially as they age, tend to become solitary beasts, much less likely to form deep, lasting friendships than women are. That, researchers say, can be detrimental to well-being and health. In fact, the lack of positive social relationships is comparable to smoking and alcohol consumption for increasing mortality risk. Make an effort to cultivate friends — both new and old — and spend more quality time with family.

9. Eat Indian

Most Indian food contains the yellow spice turmeric, with the active ingredient curcumin, which may be one of the most powerful antioxidants for men. India, where turmeric is a dietary staple, has one of the lowest prostate cancer rates in the world. Plus, studies have shown that the spice may reduce inflammation as well as fight Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, Parkinson's disease and some cancers.

10. Bone up with a beer

A nice cold beer is not just refreshing; it may also help strengthen bones. A 2013 report in the International Journal of Endocrinology notes that the barley and hops in beer make it a good source of the mineral silicon, important for bone formation and health. Even better: The type of silicon in beer, orthosilicic acid, is extra easy for your bones to absorb.

Also of Interest

Join AARP Today — Receive access to exclusive information, benefits and discounts