Choosing an active lifestyle doesn’t have to mean running marathons or pumping iron. Being active is all about convenient and simple changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or kicking “walkies” with Rover up a notch. By fitting some easy exercise into your day, you’ll get fitter (and firmer), feel healthier (and hotter), and have some fun to boot.

Getting active requires effort, sure, but because small daily changes can produce big results, it doesn’t necessarily take as much energy as you might think. So let’s get ready to rumble!

Benefits of exercise for men

What are some of the benefits of regular exercise? Numerous studies prove that getting active…

Makes you physically stronger

It’s no secret that doing exercises like push-ups and lifting weights can make your muscles firmer and larger and increase physical strength. But did you know that certain chores do double duty as muscle-building workouts? Two birds, one stone!

Helps you lose weight

It’s also no secret that doing cardio exercise — the kind that gets your heart pumping and your lungs breathing more heavily — can help you maintain a healthy weight and even shed a few pounds. On that note… 

Makes you more attractive

Another non-secret: A little extra firmness and fitness get noticed, which in turn can lead to fun in the bedroom. Ask around: Muscles are HOT!

Boosts your sex drive (and sex skills)

As well as kicking your libido up a notch (or three), regular exercise strengthens your heart and circulatory system. This sustains the blood pressure and blood flow needed to maintain an erection for as long as you (and whoever else is involved) would like. And yes, a workout between the sheets counts! Plus, as already noted, a firmer physique will probably boost your chances of getting between the sheets in the first place.

Strengthens your bones

Moving from boners to bones, regular physical activity is also great for building and maintaining healthy bones

Makes you feel good

Exercise causes your brain to release feel-good chemicals. No wonder research reveals that while people who exercise regularly tend to feel unhappy for an average of 35 days a year, non-active participants feel that way for 53 days. Come on, get happy!

Reduces back pain

Back pain is the best…said no guy ever. Four out of five Canadians suffer from severe back pain at some point in their lives. It flares up most often in guys between the ages of 30 and 50; it’s a good thing it’s so easy to nix back pain by sitting, standing, stretching, or breaking off a badass “warrior” pose yoga-style.

Makes you mentally stronger and reduces stress

As well as reducing the production of immune system chemicals that can worsen depression, physical exercise may improve brain function and wellbeing by improving your ability to cope with stress, lowering your heart rate, and improving your sleep quality.

Any form of exercise reduces stress. Just look at bike commuters: According to a recent New Economics Foundation study, these cyclists report lower stress levels than drivers and transit-takers. A 2006 report by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute found that a much higher rate of bike commuters say they like their commute compared to people who use other vehicles.

Makes your heart healthier

You can’t lift weights with your heart, but you CAN help it stay in shape by getting active. Your ticker is a muscle, after all, with guys who walk five blocks a day lowering their risk of heart attack by 25 percent. At the same time, brisk walking for just 30 minutes a day can reduce blood pressure by 5 percent. 

Man smiling in mirror

Boosts self-esteem

Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your confidence. Getting in shape will also make you feel better about your appearance. You may not look as buff as Thor, but trust us: A bit of extra firmness gets noticed. 

Reduces stress

Exercise is a great way to release stress and pent-up energy. An increase in body temperature, meanwhile, has an overall calming effect.

Wards off anxiety

Working out is a healthy distraction that disrupts the cycle of negative thoughts that feeds anxiety.

Improves sleep

Research suggests that exercise can help your body clock regulate sleeping and waking patterns. That said, doctors agree it’s best to avoid intense exercise in the last three hours before bed. 

Reduces the risk of disease

By helping to keep your weight in check and your blood pressure at healthy levels, regular exercise reduces the risk of many diseases, including three of Canada’s deadliest: cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. 

Exercise offers special advantages to people with type 2 diabetes, as it improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps manage blood sugar levels. If you don’t have type 2 diabetes, regular exercise can help delay it or even stop it from developing.

Heart disease, meanwhile, kills more Canadian men each year than any other illness. The good news: Even 15 minutes of walking 2-3 times per week drastically lowers your chance of heart disease.

Reduces the risks of being overweight

Can’t see your junk under your gut? That could be a problem. Being classified as obese is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) 30 and up. It drastically increases the risk of heart attack, colon and prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, low testosterone, and erectile dysfunction. That’s right: First, you can’t see your junk, and then it gets worse! (To quickly calculate your BMI, click here.)

How much exercise do men need?

Health experts agree: A healthy 24 hours means performing various types and intensities of physical activity. Over the course of a week, this means at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardio, two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities, and several hours of light physical activities, including standing. That’s right: You can STAND your way to better health! Wondering how to achieve these goals? Keep reading…

How to start exercising

From losing belly fat to getting rid of love handles, these simple exercises for men to do at home are easy to slide into your daily routine:

Walking

Does it get any more basic than putting one foot in front of the other? Walking briskly for 15 minutes burns around 125 calories, with men who walk five city blocks a day lowering their risk of heart attack by 25 percent. Walk to the supermarket instead of driving, walk there from a more distant parking lot than the one you usually use or walk more by making any of these near-effortless changes to your daily routine. Another option: Walking meetings! Walking in nature and/or with the dog is also a great stress-buster.

Jumping jacks

Remember jumping jacks from grade-school gym class? Turns out this classic move can deliver an effective five-minute workout by doing them in 20-second intervals followed by a rest period of 10 seconds. 

Swimming

As well as being free, fun and relaxing, swimming in an ocean, lake, river, or public pool is an excellent workout because you’re moving your whole body against the resistance of the water. This builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, all while going easy on your joints. And is there anything better on a hot day?

Push-ups

Ah, the staple of every man’s workout diet, and for a good reason. A few sets of push-ups do wonders for your arms, back and chest. With so many benefits from one simple move, how are you not doing these already?! Here’s how to do them.

Triceps dips

Triceps are the muscles that run down the back of your upper arm, from your shoulder to your elbow. They’re a bigger muscle group than your bicep so working your triceps is a quick path to bigger, more balanced and great-looking arms. Dips don’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere. All you need is a raised surface to push yourself off of. Dips are your essential anywhere, any time exercise. Here’s how to do them.

Jump rope

Research shows that jumping rope is one of the most effective cardio exercises out there. A few minutes of skipping a day can really whip you into shape. Just look at this study: After six weeks of jumping rope for just 10 minutes a day exercises, participants demonstrated the same levels of cardio improvement as people jogged for 30 minutes a day. Less really can be more!

There are also plenty of fitness apps out there to help you to start slow and figure out what to do. What are some easy ways you have been able to squeeze exercise into your life? Share with our readers below!